25 - To Live For

When her best friend, boyfriend, and twin sister all die in a car accident, an accomplished high school student joins a suicide club, and goes on a camping trip with them. Though the original intent is to jump off of a cliff after a weekend of relaxation, when she finds out the relatively petty reasons some of them want to kill themselves, she tries to convince the other members of the group that they should live - without convincing herself of the same thing.

Taylor is the girl in high school that you’d be jealous of if you didn’t like her so much. She’s smart, pretty, and popular, but not in a 90s movie villain way; she’s popular because she’s super nice and helpful and friendly to everyone.

Everyone except for those closest too her, that is; she’s having a bit of a relationship crisis at the moment. Her twin sister Hannah is a little quieter, and has tried to establish her own, separate identity, and it’s put some tension on their relationship. Plus, Taylor is fighting with her best friend, Lana, because Lana has a crush on Taylor’s boyfriend Wyatt. But he might not be her boyfriend for much longer, because he’s so focused on his studies and pizza delivery job that she feels like she never sees him anymore.

Finally, Taylor decides that she’s had enough, and all of these fights need to end now - even if that means she gets stepped on a little. She talks with Hannah and they rearrange their after-school activities so that they aren’t doing all the same things, and will meet different people, she talks things out with Lana and figures out that Lana has no interest in Wyatt and Taylor was misreading things, and she gets Wyatt to help her get a job at the same pizza place so they can work together.

One day, after attending a school football game (that their team won, thank you very much), Taylor drives herself, Hannah, Lana, and Wyatt home. Before anyone can even notice what’s happening, their car is hit by an 18-wheeler that ran a red light. Taylor is the only survivor; everyone else in the car dies. Even the guy driving the 18-wheeler dies. It’s just her.

The loss of her twin sister, boyfriend, and best friend, all at once, all of whom were in the car she was driving, breaks Taylor in the worst way. She’s always depressed, her grades slip hard, she can’t drive anymore (which loses her her job) and she doesn’t talk to or spend time with anyone. People try to reach out to her at first, but she shuts them all down pretty hard.

She wants to commit suicide, and almost tries a couple times, but can’t bring herself to do it. She’s scared of the pain, scared of what people will think of her if she fails, and scared of what people will think of her if she succeeds. She trawls around the internet looking for tips, and maybe a partner, and finds out about a group of people in her area who are all interested in killing themselves, together.

She reaches out to them, and finds out one of them is actually a girl in her school - Stella. She and Stella hang out the next day, and after school, Stella takes her to meet the other three members of the group - a 20-year-old guy, a 14-year-old boy, and a 38-year-old woman. They start having regular meetings.

The meetings are generally pretty morbid and yet somehow toothless. They talk a lot about suicide, but it’s pretty much just about why various methods of suicide suck. You can’t take pills, because you might just throw them all up. Slitting your wrists would hurt too much. Guns would probably work… but on the off chance they don’t, you’re going to be in a lot of pain, and probably permanently maimed.

Whereas most of the group is kind of skirting around the issue a lot, Taylor is focused like a laser - she’s here for a reason, and she’s not going to just dick around. But whenever she tries to suggest an actual plan, they just continue with the normal way of things, and talk about why her proposed method of suicide wouldn’t work.

She decides to get to the bottom of things, and talks to everyone, trying to find out why they’ve put suicide off. The reasons are mostly similar to hers - scared of the pain, scared of what people will think - although Stella hasn’t yet because she’s scared of the afterlife.

Taylor plans out a camping trip for them, at the end of which they’ll all weight themselves down, and drown themselves in a lake. If your weight is heavy and your knots are good, it’s foolproof, and it’s supposedly painless. Some of the group - especially Stella - need a little convincing, but in the end they all agree, and go.

There’s just one problem: Taylor’s parents. Given her poor grades and losing her job, they aren’t thrilled about the idea of her going camping for a weekend. She tries to convince them that it’s good for her to socialize, but they don’t really like the friends she’d be going with. In the end, she has to sneak out of the house, and switch where they’d be camping at the last minute so that her parents won’t be able to find her.

After that, the camping trip is smooth enough. Their campsite is isolated and idyllic, and there’s a nice deep like only a short hike away. Taylor and the others enjoy nature for what they plan to be the last time.

The first night, though, while gathering wood with the 14-year-old, Taylor finds out that he’s killing himself because he got dumped by his girlfriend of two years. She kind of flips out a little. That’s totally not enough reason!

She talks about it later with the others, and discovers their reasons aren’t that great either. The 20-year-old is killing himself because he just feel useless. The 38-year-old because she just got fired. And Stella because her grandma died and she wants to be with her.

Taylor totally reverses priorities, and starts convincing them that they need to live. It’s hard and awkward, but she slowly finds hope for each of them. The only trouble is, the more hope she finds for them, the more they try to convince her there’s hope for her, too.

When they won’t stop trying to convince her not to kill herself, she sneaks off into the woods alone to do it without them.

They go into panic mode, and start searching for her. One of them calls the police. Stella calls Taylor’s family. They sweep the woods, looking for her.

Meanwhile, she goes to a different lake than was planned, and ties a weight around her leg. She starts wading out into the water, but it’s gross, and scary, and she’s kind of wigging out and terrified.

Stella finds her at the last moment, and convinces her to come back to shore.