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Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

kherbrand ,

2 things you said are really making me think.

That Sam "doesn't want to be recipient of Lindsay's "meanness"". That is a good oberservation. In thinking back through the first 2 chapters that makes a lot of sense.

I wonder about Juliet too. That she made a stand and cleaned up took an effort. I want to hear more about her in the rest of the book.

pen21

 


kherbrand wrote:

What kind of person is Sam?

I definitely think Sam is a follower in the group - and I think part of the reason is because she doesn't want to be the recipient of Lindsay's "meanness".  She was so excited when Lindsay started talking to her that she didn't really care that she was hurting someone else.

 

I have to make a comment about Juliet - I want to know what is going on with her that made her clean up, come to the party, and take a stand!


 

 

Frequent Contributor
ruthieWW
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎01-07-2010

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

Lil Irish Lass wrote: " ..it makes it almost impossible for me to even care that she's dead, part of me feels like she deserved it."

 

I could never agree with that statement. Teenagers are still immature kids, whose actions and behavior are sometimes just symptoms of insecurity and self-esteem issues. Some grow up and develop into responsilbe, moral, upstanding adults; and some don't. As I commented in my first post, I really did not like Sam and she does remind me of a lot of young teenagers today, that are in the popular in-crowd. However, I cannot fathom the idea that she deserved to die! No young adult DESERVES to die. It happens, but it is the most tragically sad thing.

As you stated, there is a cynic in you, maybe because you bore the brunt of unkind actions when you were younger, so that it made it impossible for you to  "even care that she's dead".  Death is a finality, with NO second chances, NO HOPE, NO chance of redemption. Haven't we all met young people who displayed characteristics of these fictional girls, and yet they matured and overcame their frailities and failures.

Even though we dislike someone, or dislike their actions, we most often do not see the inner person, and we certainly cannot see their future.

Guess I am an optomist, instead of a cynic. I may not like the situation, but I sure do HOPE for better, HOPE for change.

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Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2


ruthieWW wrote:

Lil Irish Lass wrote: " ..it makes it almost impossible for me to even care that she's dead, part of me feels like she deserved it."

 

I could never agree with that statement. Teenagers are still immature kids, whose actions and behavior are sometimes just symptoms of insecurity and self-esteem issues. Some grow up and develop into responsilbe, moral, upstanding adults; and some don't. As I commented in my first post, I really did not like Sam and she does remind me of a lot of young teenagers today, that are in the popular in-crowd. However, I cannot fathom the idea that she deserved to die! No young adult DESERVES to die. It happens, but it is the most tragically sad thing.

As you stated, there is a cynic in you, maybe because you bore the brunt of unkind actions when you were younger, so that it made it impossible for you to  "even care that she's dead".  Death is a finality, with NO second chances, NO HOPE, NO chance of redemption. Haven't we all met young people who displayed characteristics of these fictional girls, and yet they matured and overcame their frailities and failures.

Even though we dislike someone, or dislike their actions, we most often do not see the inner person, and we certainly cannot see their future.

Guess I am an optomist, instead of a cynic. I may not like the situation, but I sure do HOPE for better, HOPE for ch

Vtc Wrote..Thank you Ruth for posting that statement..I have wondered how sensitive we will all be to the issues facing Sam and all the characters in BIF..To me its an issue,since "Teen Reads' is designed to be YA Novels,that I as an older reader of YA,feel privileged to take part in this discussion .I guess I would hope that respect and understanding of YA be a given here.We are all free to post,of course,and disagree with some statements.  VT........

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Contributor
AshALee
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-22-2008

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

Sam in the first two chapters is not a sympathy inducing character at all.  She seems almost removed and detached from herself in a way, which I suppose happened when she took up with Lindsay.  The book initially seemed vaguely reminescent of Mean Girls which I loved.

www.bellasnovella.com
Contributor
wrmbreeze
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎08-11-2009

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

What kind of person is Sam? What do we know about her family? Do we learn anything surprising about her as these first two chapters progress? Sam seems like many teens, especially the popular ones. She enjoys being popular and feels like she deserves that popularity.

 

She and her friends go to great effort to fit in perfectly. How does Sam really fit in with this crowd?

 Sam seems to just follow what the other girls do.

 

Do we learn things about each Lindsay, Ally and Elody that make them individual and not so cookie-cutter perfect?I don't think we have learned anything that seperates  them.

 

Lindsay's self proclaimed "theme song" is "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige. Does this fit her?

This DOES not fit Lindsay.

 

What does Sam's longstanding--although estranged--friendship with Kent tell you about her?

 I think she likes that he has liked her al these years.

 

If you were Sam, do you think there is one friend you would confide in when you woke up to start Friday the 12th over again? In her group of friends, I think they would laugh at her if she did.

Contributor
BooksAtMidnight
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎12-12-2009

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

[ Edited ]

Let's see, I'm going to jump in here with some of my reponses:

 

What kind of person is Sam? What do we know about her family? Do we learn anything surprising about her as these first two chapters progress?

I'm going to address the part of this combo that I felt the strongest about: what kind of person Sam is. As a fellow shallow, naive, self-centered -continue negative adjectives here- teen myself, I can see where Sam is coming from. As of now, I definitely do not like her (that party scene was harsh), but I don't absolutely hate her either. The reality is that fitting in feels vital to many high schoolers (including myself), and we often do embarassing or degrading things because of it. I feel like Sam might be nice, reflecting on how she treats her sister, though she's willing to give up some of her integrity to fall within her friends' and classmates' expectations of a "perfect," untouchable girl. And aside from all her meanness, I have to give props to her for being smart; she realizes that she's popular and knows how to utilize it.

 

She and her friends go to great effort to fit in perfectly. How does Sam really fit in with this crowd?

Eh, I feel like she's the outsider looking in. The way the others talk and act, I feel like popularity comes naturally to them whereas Sam has to change herself and realizes all that she has to lose.

 

Edit-- I agree that on the outside Sam fits in fine though. *shrug*

 

Do we learn things about each Lindsay, Ally and Elody that make them individual and not so cookie-cutter perfect?

Technically, their habits in the car ride make them not "cookie-cutter" perfect, but I question if this is who they really are or are they putting up a front? They each seem to fit a specific, cliche role, but scenes such as the lunch table, where they all just really follow Lindsay, make me wonder if they're each showing they're real personality. As of yet, I can't really tell them apart aside from physical appearance and experiences.

 

Lindsay's self proclaimed "theme song" is "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige. Does this fit her?

I've never heard the song myself, but Lindsay and "No More Drama" in a single sentence is such a contradiction. Like that. Popularity without drama? Puh-lease. Even situations that don't seem like "drama" add up towards the bigger picture (ie. belching contest - a symbol of supposed normalcy, but it just really flaunts Lindsay's popularity).

 

What does Sam's longstanding--although estranged--friendship with Kent tell you about her?

That underneath all her fronts, Sam would actually values those innocent, carefree days. She appreciates true friendship, even if she's not willing to admit it. Either that, or Sam just likes the extra attention.

 

If you were Sam, do you think there is one friend you would confide in when you woke up to start Friday the 12th over again?

As of yet, no, though I'm guessing for Kent later. :smileyhappy:

Frequent Contributor
ruthieWW
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎01-07-2010

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

Lil Irish Lass,

 I agree with you that today's teenagers are influenced, perhaps dominated by the media and by their peers. However, a comparison to Hitler's regime seems extreme. A Nazi Germany with an insane dictator dominating and controlling the masses, was a bitter time in history and I can not see how a group of popular teenage girls and a school full of other (not-so-popular) groups in a fictional high school setting could remind us of World War II. I see no parallel whatsoever. I cannot see Julie and Kent even in the SAME school group, let alone a paralyzed sect who has accepted their place in the "food chain". Kent is a happy kid. He may not be in the "in-crowd", but he is comfortable with who he is. He doesn't care if no one likes how he dresses. He is not paralyzed, He is just Kent. I do not think observing the fact that Julie does not take up for herself, suggests a mindset of persecuted Germans. It suggests that Julie has a problem, maybe of low self-esteem, maybe fear, anxiety,and perhaps the popular girls exhibit the exact opposite. Julie has to come to terms with her issues, the same way that Samantha does. Hence, the struggles mentioned by CharminKB.

 

Please, let us go back to the Book Club discussion of "Before I Fall", not the Third Reich. Samantha is in trouble, we all agree on that; and nothing is right in her life.

CharminKB, I understand where you are coming from. No one condones actions that leave hurt feelings. No one is applauding these girls. The author went to great lengths to present the negative aspects of their characters. High school (and indeed the rest of our social lives) is tough. You made a terrific point: No one is perfect.

Correspondent
nicole21WA
Posts: 79
Registered: ‎03-22-2009

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

I completely love this book!!  Even though I've stuck to the schedule with previous First Look books, I just couldn't with this one.  I had to finish Before I Fall.  So I don't want to say too much right now for fear of accidentally dropping in a spoiler.  I'm going to re-read the chapters now as we go along so I know what is ok to discuss.

 

I'm not at all familiar with the "No More Drama" song, so I checked out the lyrics.  Maybe it would make more sense as the theme song if I listened to it, but just reading the lyrics...I don't see why Lindsay would declare it such.

Inspired Correspondent
CharlieG31
Posts: 257
Registered: ‎01-06-2010

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

 

Sorry for answering so soon been busy with school today I finally had some time to log in and start posting!

 

What kind of person is Sam? What do we know about her family? Do we learn anything surprising about her as these first two chapters progress?

 Sam is the kind of person who at first when she was young used to believe in who she was and was proud of it I can deduce it by the way she says she used to be friends with Kent and the way they bothered her, that means that at a time she was the girl she now makes fun of or very like the people she currently bothers and makes fun of with her friends. There was a turning point when Lindsay started talking with her when she realized she could be popular, and she had a radical change. From there on she changed everything to fin on with her new friends, and even though some people may consider it to be a "Fake" person I do not agree with this opinions , because what every human is searching for is a feeling of importance from whoever they can get it , so if Sam was not getting it from the friends she had then it was obvious she would look to shine more and be far more important than in the social group she was , which clearly explains her change of friendship. The only thing we learn about Sam's family is that she knows her father, when she talks about her mother prepping up to go out with her father it clearly shows she at least once in a lifetime met him , but it seems her father is gone now, and now its her , her sister and her mother on their own but it has not be said a lot about the current family situation.

 


She and her friends go to great effort to fit in perfectly. How does Sam really fit in with this crowd?

Sam tries to fit in with her friends even though she clearly feels out of place sometimes but she never tries to show it. I think she feels insecure with this friends and that is the reason why she never expresses her thoughts after she dies and tries to tell them something , she even changes the subject when they're about to make the horse riding joke so this clearly shows that she does not like being made fun of and she has some scars from the time she was the school's joke and now she is trying to change that. However she is betrayed by her thoughts every day she feels she does not fit in and that is the reason why she is mean to people even if she does not understand why she is that way with people, she has a stereotype that she must fit into , in order to be able to hang out with her friends, which makes it kinda blurry to say at this part of the story whether she is really feeling what she says she feels.

 

Do we learn things about each Lindsay, Ally and Elody that make them individual and not so cookie-cutter perfect?

 From my point of view much more reading is needed in order to say whether they have an individual personality or not, however what I can say is that they all seem to be the ones bullied at some point or with lots of problems , but they have grown and become who they currently are by stepping on other people , not by being nice or educated but by using other peoples problems or disabilities as a transport to get a better place in the social high school scale.

 

What does Sam's longstanding--although estranged--friendship with Kent tell you about her?

The estranged friendship with Kent shows that Kent was a friend who was with her when they bothered her, and they were VERY close, but after she decided to change the way she was and become more popular she stopped hanging with them because she was afraid they would relate her with Kent and therefore never let her become as popular as the other girls .Which clearly shows Sam was not always the girl she currently is.

 

If you were Sam, do you think there is one friend you would confide in when you woke up to start Friday the 12th over again?

If I were Sam I would not confide on anyone not because they would make fun of me or because I do not trust my friends, but because my friends are too logical and they would consider me nuts and make fun of me , so instead I would try to introduce the topic that day from the morning and on , and if I saw they were taking an interest on the topic then I would tell them what happened to me but that is what I would do..

"The questions are more essential than the answers."
Karl Theodor Jaspers

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CharlieG31
Posts: 257
Registered: ‎01-06-2010
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Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

[ Edited ]

 


spalma324 wrote:

I felt like Sam knew what her and her friends were doing was wrong but was so desperate to be part of the in crowd she went along with it. Knowing if she didn't she would be getting the same treatment all those other kids were getting. It was better to her to be in than out.

 

Unfortunately I think this is probably more the case than not. School is so hard I would never trade to go back to that time.

 

I didn't hate Sam I felt sorry for her. I more disliked Lindsay...but I guess she is the one to feel the most sorry for b/c she was so scared to let anyone see her true self that she had to punish everyone for her fears.


 

I totally agree with you , Sam is so desperate to search a place to fit in that she will do anything she can in order to gain popularity. I also felt sorry for Sam because now that she is kinda gone she is realizing all the things she did and seems like now she is not so proud of them.  I believe Lindsay is taking advantage of everyone she gets the chance to, even her own friends and that when she gets the chance she will betray whoever she needs to in order to get what she wants.

 

"The questions are more essential than the answers."
Karl Theodor Jaspers

Contributor
bookcrazyme
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

Sam is one of the "popular" girls at her school, but from the first two chapters, I get the feeling that it wasn't always that way. She is a fair representation of most people at her age-teenagers-I think, because she evidently wants to belong and to be loved. In the first two chapters, I learned near nothing about her family...they do seem to be very lenient though, allowing her to go off to parties every weekend and giving her free reign the majority of the time. I'd like a little more about what her family is like, though.

Inspired Correspondent
Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

ruthieWW wrote:

Lil Irish Lass wrote: " ..it makes it almost impossible for me to even care that she's dead, part of me feels like she deserved it."

 

I could never agree with that statement. Teenagers are still immature kids, whose actions and behavior are sometimes just symptoms of insecurity and self-esteem issues. Some grow up and develop into responsilbe, moral, upstanding adults; and some don't. As I commented in my first post, I really did not like Sam and she does remind me of a lot of young teenagers today, that are in the popular in-crowd. However, I cannot fathom the idea that she deserved to die! No young adult DESERVES to die. It happens, but it is the most tragically sad thing.

As you stated, there is a cynic in you, maybe because you bore the brunt of unkind actions when you were younger, so that it made it impossible for you to  "even care that she's dead".  Death is a finality, with NO second chances, NO HOPE, NO chance of redemption. Haven't we all met young people who displayed characteristics of these fictional girls, and yet they matured and overcame their frailities and failures.

Even though we dislike someone, or dislike their actions, we most often do not see the inner person, and we certainly cannot see their future.

Guess I am an optomist, instead of a cynic. I may not like the situation, but I sure do HOPE for better, HOPE for ch

Vtc Wrote..Thank you Ruth for posting that statement..I have wondered how sensitive we will all be to the issues facing Sam and all the characters in BIF..To me its an issue,since "Teen Reads' is designed to be YA Novels,that I as an older reader of YA,feel privileged to take part in this discussion .I guess I would hope that respect and understanding of YA be a given here.We are all free to post,of course,and disagree with some statements.  VT........


 

I totally agree with you ladies and I prefer to be an optimist as well. I don't agree with all of the behaviors of Sam and her friends but none of them deserve to die. Most of my high school experiences were happy but there was still plenty of drama and I made many mistakes. I daresay all of us did as teenagers. It's easy as an adult to judge young people and to see the mistakes they are making. But we often didn't recognize our own errors at that age, why would we expect them to? They need our guidance and support, not judgement. I don't think it's ever too late to change your life.

 

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Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

 


ruthieWW wrote:

Lil Irish Lass,

 I agree with you that today's teenagers are influenced, perhaps dominated by the media and by their peers. However, a comparison to Hitler's regime seems extreme. A Nazi Germany with an insane dictator dominating and controlling the masses, was a bitter time in history and I can not see how a group of popular teenage girls and a school full of other (not-so-popular) groups in a fictional high school setting could remind us of World War II. I see no parallel whatsoever. I cannot see Julie and Kent even in the SAME school group, let alone a paralyzed sect who has accepted their place in the "food chain". Kent is a happy kid. He may not be in the "in-crowd", but he is comfortable with who he is. He doesn't care if no one likes how he dresses. He is not paralyzed, He is just Kent. I do not think observing the fact that Julie does not take up for herself, suggests a mindset of persecuted Germans. It suggests that Julie has a problem, maybe of low self-esteem, maybe fear, anxiety,and perhaps the popular girls exhibit the exact opposite. Julie has to come to terms with her issues, the same way that Samantha does. Hence, the struggles mentioned by CharminKB.

 

Please, let us go back to the Book Club discussion of "Before I Fall", not the Third Reich. Samantha is in trouble, we all agree on that; and nothing is right in her life.

CharminKB, I understand where you are coming from. No one condones actions that leave hurt feelings. No one is applauding these girls. The author went to great lengths to present the negative aspects of their characters. High school (and indeed the rest of our social lives) is tough. You made a terrific point: No one is perfect.


 

Well said Ruthie!

 

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ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,523
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

AshALee, I have just started the book. I am not sure what to make of Sam yet. I am intrigued by the way the story is going so far. I want to read more and find out what is going on so I can get a sense of these characters and their interactions.

 

I go like the premise of the story.

 

ReadingPatti

Contributor
StarShadow
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎12-05-2009

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

So far I am hating the characters, my friend has also read this and has told me to keep reading cause it changes... This book honestly seems to depict the real issues in todays teen youth, from attitudes, to cliques and other life issues. I feel that as I get more into the book and it unfolds that everything will make a bit more sense which I truly hope is the case.

ReaganStar

TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book. ~Author Unknown

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. ~Author Unknown
Contributor
lisabalf
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎12-01-2009

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

What kind of person is Sam? What do we know about her family? Do we learn anything surprising about her as these first two chapters progress?

Sam is a person who found her chance at stardom with the popular girls and seems to have a slight fear that she will be found out to be a fraud.  There is a nice side to her.  Her family so far seems to be a victim of her constant need to be "on" even at home.  I haven't really learned anything surprising about her yet. 

 

She and her friends go to great effort to fit in perfectly. How does Sam really fit in with this crowd?

  She tries to fit in but deep down I think she knows she really doesn't fit in and lives each day in some degree of fear that this will be found out and she'll be kicked out of the cool girls group.

 

Do we learn things about each Lindsay, Ally and Elody that make them individual and not so cookie-cutter perfect?

 They're alike in several different ways, but they seem to have just enough personality to make them distinguishable.

 

Lindsay's self proclaimed "theme song" is "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige. Does this fit her?

 In the ironic sense maybe. 

 

What does Sam's longstanding--although estranged--friendship with Kent tell you about her?

 At one time she was a nice likeable girl and Kent may still see this in her but she is doing the best to keep her past away even if it means pusing away her old friend.

 

If you were Sam, do you think there is one friend you would confide in when you woke up to start Friday the 12th over again?

No. Especially not Lindsay

Contributor
0104
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎01-06-2010

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

Sam brings to mind the type of girl who really wants to be different and stand out, but by trying to do this, she only succeeds in being a cookie-cutter of all the other 'popular' girls... same hairstyle, clothes, friends, etc.  It is like any other teenager that fits in to any group at school... they think they are 'different' but in reality there are just alike everyoine else.  Sam 'fit' into her crowd only by being what they want her to be and in doing that she feels she is her own person.

 

Lindsey and her 'No Drama' attitude is exactly that!  By proclaiming she wants no drama, she is, in fact, letting the world know that is what is thrives for all along.

 

I have 5 daughters, ages 8 to 24, and I have told them and do tell them that high school, while is seems like the most important thing in the world shall too pass and in 10, 15, 20 years the things that happened, the person you were, will not really matter.  To always be true to yourself and make your own decisions, because you are the one that has to live with them, not anyone else. 

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Lil_Irish_Lass
Posts: 163
Registered: ‎11-21-2008
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Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2

Huh, I guess I'm the bad person for not feeling sorry for Sam and her clique and saying that they do not have any redeemable qualities. I guess I'll be the Devil's Advocate for BIF.

I find it fascinating that so many are determined to not condone the actions of Sam and her friends and I wonder if that tune will change as we get deeper into the novel (I'm only in chapter 4 so I haven't gone that far ahead). I do believe that people can change but I also know that a lot of times it doesn't happen.

Do "mean girls" mature and grow up into good people who are an asset to society? It can happen, but it seems like "mean girls" who are actually mean (like Lindsey), not just going along with it to be popular (like Sam), don't change. They become the mean sorority girl in college, and then the person in the office whom everyone hates because they are so evil and nasty to everyone.

So here's a question - which is worse, the inherent mean girl (aka Lindsey), or the person who goes along with all of it knowing it's bad behavior, just to be popular (aka Sam)?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman." - The Woman in White
Correspondent
jabrkeKB
Posts: 164
Registered: ‎11-15-2008

Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2


Lil_Irish_Lass wrote:

So here's a question - which is worse, the inherent mean girl (aka Lindsey), or the person who goes along with all of it knowing it's bad behavior, just to be popular (aka Sam)?


Good question, but here's another, what makes someone "inherently" mean? All these girls know their behavior is bad, they just rationalize it differently.

Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Before I Fall, Early Chapters, 1-2


Vtcozy wrote..To post  is to recognize the "comments",so I am only posting to agree with jabrkeKB,not to get into a lenghty discussion about the insensitive remarks that were made.I hope this will help put a "positive ,non judgemental spin here.Yes, positive,and a learning experience.,no matter what ages are here.  Thanks...Vtc.
jabrkeKB wrote:

Lil_Irish_Lass wrote:

So here's a question - which is worse, the inherent mean girl (aka Lindsey), or the person who goes along with all of it knowing it's bad behavior, just to be popular (aka Sam)?


Good question, but here's another, what makes someone "inherently" mean? All these girls know their behavior is bad, they just rationalize it differently.

 

 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer