This book was nothing like I thought it would be. Even though it's a fairly depressing subject matter, I really enjoyed it and rattled through it in less than a day (can you tell I'm on my Easter break??) It had been on my reading list for a while and when I finally got around to picking it up I'd kind of forgotten what it was about.
I've pasted an abridged blurb above as it pretty much encapsulates the story. However, I would point out that the video that was circulated wasn't of Carolyn and Shane making out (unless making out means something different these days!) but actually of them having sex. Hence the slut-shaming.
So you can probably guess that this is a high school bullying book, but there are actually more layers to it than that. It also deals with eating disorders and how unhealthy attitudes to food arenormalised in society. It's about culpability. It's about parental neglect.
I'm actually glad I hadn't read the blurb on Goodreads before I read the book because there is actually a bit of a spoiler in there. Basically, throughout the book the narrator (and more of the narrator later) alludes to an 'incident' that happened with Carolyn involving some kind of official investigation, but we're not told until the end of the book what actually happens. So my advice is: don't read the Goodreads blurb!
The story is narrated by a first-person plural narrator. It's a really interesting choice and it really worked well. When you're talking about bullying, the guilty parties aren't just the bullies themselves. Anyone who doesn't call the bullies out on their behaviour is culpable, too. The narrator(s) give their reasons why they never did anything to stop the bullying - they had their own problems to deal with, if you stick your head over the parapet the chances are you'll get fired at too - and their defensiveness makes them sound super guilty.
Interestingly, the setting for the book, the deep south of America, almost comes across as a character in its own right. You get such a feel for the small-town-ness of it, the social mores, the emphasison religion. I also got the impression that the author doesn't care much for the south,or people who live there, as there's also a lot of hypocrisy, bigotry, small-mindedness and ignorance on display.
All in all I thought this was a really great book. Definitely recommended.