“I Swear” by Lane Davis begins right off the bat with a suicide. Little by little we learn about the cyber bullying that Leslie endured for years. Macie is your classic mean girl/ bully leader who intimidates her minions, as they are called in the book, to do her bidding. When Leslie’s parents file a wrongful death suit and go after Macie and her group, we learn through alternating voices of the characters how the bullying got so out of hand.
It is easy to hate Macie and blame her for everything. But what about her followers? They were so afraid of Macie and her wrath that they became afraid that they would be next on Macie’s hit list. Nobody wanted to go through what Leslie did. It was safer to just go along with our twisted little leader.
Macie blames the parents, saying that there had to be more than just the bullying to push her over the edge. Ultimately, Macie reasons, Leslie was a coward and it was her choice to end her life. By the end of the book, you realize that there are no easy answers as to why anyone commits suicide. It seems like all of the characters are to blame in some way.
Macie’s minions learn the hard way the price of playing “follow the leader” even when you know the leader is so wrong. The only one who feels no guilt about the incident is Macie. For the rest:
“It’s a strange thing when you spend so much time and energy fearing the worst will happen. Turns out that when it finally occurs, it’s pretty much as bad as you thought it would be. In fact, some parts are worse. Then an amazing thing happens. You see clearly for the first time what made the terrible thing so frightening in the first place: You didn’t think you’d survive. But you do.”
The ending of the book, which of course I won’t reveal, is also a bit shocking. Will Leslie ever receive the justice she deserves? Find out in this thought provoking look at the many facets of the effects of bullying and teen suicide.