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First and foremost a young adult novel about public shaming in the internet age, If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say is also an exploration of the power of words, the cumulative destructiveness of microaggressions, and the pressing need for empathy.
Before we go any further, I want you to understand this: I am not a good person.
We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. But what happens when we’re seen and heard saying or doing the wrong things?
When Winter Halperin—former spelling bee champion, aspiring writer, and daughter of a parenting expert—gets caught saying the wrong thing online, her life explodes. All across the world, people know what she’s done, and none of them will forgive her.
With her friends gone, her future plans cut short, and her identity in shambles, Winter is just trying to pick up the pieces without hurting anyone else. She knows she messed up, but does that mean it’s okay for people to send her hate mail and death threats? Did she deserve to lose all that she’s lost? And is “I’m sorry” ever good enough?
Decide for yourself.
Praise for If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say:
"A nuanced approach to how the internet encourages the dehumanization of users gives this novel its realistic tone and serves as a strong warning to teens (and their parents)." —Publishers Weekly
"[A] thoughtful coming-of-age story that underlines the power of empathy, community, and believing in one’s own capacity for positive change." —The Horn Book
About the Author
Leila Sales is the author of the novels Mostly Good Girls and Past Perfect. She grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Chicago. Much like the characters in This Song Will Save Your Life, Leila regularly stays up too late and listens to music too loud. When she’s not writing, she spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, chocolate, and the meaning of life. But mostly chocolate. Leila lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York, and works in children's book publishing.
"A thoughtful, compulsively readable story of a twenty-first century teen's worst nightmare come true." —The Bulletin, starred review
"This is a sharp, incisive novel about culpability in the digital age. Winter’s not quite the villain the world thinks, but neither is she entirely innocent. For teens especially, this will offer valuable perspective on the effect words can have." —Booklist