So, this is a book about bullying and abuse. It's interesting in that we get to see not only the victim being bullied, but also the bully's point of view and why they are behaving the way they are. I haven't actually seen this in any other kind of book, really. It's usually not touched upon.
So, on one hand we have Jess. Overweight, not very popular, gets constantly tormented, has very little friends, very low self-esteem...yeah. Done countless times before.
On the other hand we have Kez. Popular, bitchy, bullies Jess day-in, day-out. Has an abusive father who is often drunk, suffers domestic abuse along with her mother which is illustrated pretty well, and it explains why she's the way she is. It does NOT, however, excuse her behaviour.
Because this book made me feel sick inside whilst reading it. Why? It's not a bad book. No, it's because of the nature of the bullying. It's not pretty. It's physical, verbal, psychological, hateful, and downright sickening what Kez does to Jess. It happens throughout the book, from start to finish. We see Kez's reasons for doing so - yes, she is letting out all her frustration on Jess, as an easy target, but...seriously? It's going too far.
Kez is one of the most despicable and deplorable characters I have read about in a book. Yes, you are meant to hate her. But for some reason, you're also meant to feel sorry for her? Well, I don't. I feel no sympathy towards this monster of a character who humiliates and bullies her victim in public, threatens to kill her, physically hits her, even goes so far as to cause her to self-harm...
The author's note at the end says that "Bullies are victims too". It still doesn't excuse Kez's behaviour because what she does to Jess is just so sadistic and awful.
To be honest, I stopped reading seriously halfway through the book. I couldn't keep reading all these awful things happening to Jess and nothing being done about it (yep, all the teachers look the other way, of course!).
Later on, I decided I might as well read the rest. I was on my lunch break and I had nothing better to do with my life except sleep. I skimmed the rest and was shocked to discover that it actually became even more horrendous than I could imagine. There might have been some kind of shitty redemption at the end?...I wasn't really paying attention.
I don't think anything was resolved either about anyone's dysfunctional families, or anything whatsoever. I mean it's not badly-written but I just could not enjoy it. 2.5/5