Sorry I’m Not Sorry tells the story of Kylie Steppe, former queen bee of Gold Country Middle School. After bullying a fellow GCMS student, Kylie has been expelled—and she has to attend mandatory counseling. Without her posse to aid her and other peers to torment, Kylie focuses on the person who stole her GVMS popularity crown: Tori Taylor. As Kylie plots revenge on Tori, she attends therapy sessions, where she reveals a few details that might explain why she finds power in preying on her middle school peers. After a rough year with bullying backfire, will Kylie decide to become more empathetic with her peers?
At the end of Book 2 of the Mean Girls Trilogy, Kylie's bullying had gone so far as to seriously physically threaten the life of one of her victims. Now, in the third and final book, we see not only the repercussions of Kylie's actions but also what might be going on in her own life that could possibly be fueling her need to bully others. Kylie must explain her actions and take steps to show the school that she is willing to change, or face expulsion. The reader gets a look into Kylie's home life, seeing how her parents largely ignore her unless they feel the need to reprimand / chastise her about something. When they feel guilty about being mostly emotionally unavailable to her, they seem to ply her with expensive gifts, but secretly Kylie -- more than anything money could ever buy -- desperately wants to find a way to honestly connect with her parents. With the immaturity of the parents, the reader definitely gets a good idea of where Kylie maybe gets a lot of her bad behavior!
The character Lydia is also brought back for this story, serving as a tutor to Kylie, as well as a mentor, trying to show her how to reform her ways (mostly through showing her healthier ways to process her emotional hurts). Lydia teaches Kylie how to channel her talents in creativeness / perceptiveness into respectful, productive avenues rather than to do harm.
There were a lot of little moments in this book that I really loved and found pretty impactful. When Lydia asked Kylie to make a list of all of the wrongs she's done to others, she couldn't come up with one thing. Not. One. Yet, when asked to list her enemies, she can't be stopped. I loved how Lydia had a gentle way of pointing out bad behavior, and how she explains that developing a kind, generous spirit can give one a better high than any sort of bullying or negativity can bring. I also enjoyed that Nancy Rue wrote in kid characters having anger triggers with adults offering solutions that said "you're not wrong to have these feelings, but here's a healthy way to work through it." I think that will prove to be an invaluable message to young readers! I also found it impressive that the plot looks at the bully becoming the victim, seeing how it feels.
While I think the second book in the series is my personal favorite, the series as a whole provides important lessons to young readers without cramming it down their throats. The delivery is very natural and relatable, so I'm sure young readers will easily be able to pick a favorite character to root for.
Note For Readers: If you are interesting in supplemental information regarding the anti-bullying movement, author Nancy Rue has set up the So Not Okay Anti-Bullying movement which you can check out at nancyrue.com/sonotokay
FTC Disclaimer: BookLookBloggers.com and Thomas Nelson Publishers kindly sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.