Review: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: May 1st 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Format: ARC (thank you, Macmillan!)

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? What then?

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 knows 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? Does she deserve to lose all that she’s lost? And is “I’m sorry” ever good enough?

First and foremost a 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.


TW / death, suicide attempts

This is my first Leila Sales novel, and I’m definitely interested in seeing what other works she has in store. This novel follows Winter, who posts a suggestively racist post online and consequently gets publicly shamed and has to deal with the consequences of her actions.

I was very intrigued by this novel’s premise because I have never read anything like this before. I feel like public shaming online is so common nowadays but it’s interesting to see the other side of the story. While I felt like this book tackled some tough topics, such as bullying, microaggressions, and public shaming, I feel like Sales did a pretty good job with discussing various perspectives.

While Revibe, the rehabilitation center that Winter attends, is not a real institution, it implements some interesting ways to deal with the aftermath of public shaming. There is also some romance and I enjoyed the slow-paced nature of this blooming romance between Winter and Abe.

Overall, IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY is an interesting new look at the rise of public shaming and the impact of words. I definitely recommend this book to all readers; be careful about what you say.

Thank you to Simon for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


alice name.pngAlice is an 18 year old college student who loves the oxford comma, television shows, and the company of dogs. She finds writing in the third person odd yet enjoyable. You can find her scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, and forever organizing her shelves on Goodreads.


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Are you planning to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!


3 thoughts on “Review: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales

  1. This is one of the first books addressing this subject I’ve read as well! It’s a good reminder that the internet is forever. It might even make my TBR list as well!


  2. This book sounds so important for everyone to read, as people are too quick to just say anything, including trying to hurt others. Great review!


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