Tag Archives: Bullying

Book Reviews
June 19, 2014 posted by Nichole

DNF: #scandal by Sarah Ockler

17415348Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. Andespecially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love..

 

My Review:

I absolutely, positively ADORED the first half of #Scandal by Sarah Ockler. I thought that it was super cute and totally original. Coming from someone who’s not the biggest fan of contemporary, that’s a huge compliment. There was no doubt in my mind that this was going to be a 4 or 4.5 star review. I was so ready to start promoting and gushing about it. And that’s when things started to go downhill during the second half of the book.

My biggest complaint with this book was how freaking dramatic it was. It was so drama filled that I was rolling my eyes every two seconds. Now, I know that this book is set in a high school setting, and high school is dramatic, but oh my goodness. There was only so much that I could take. Seriously. It was drama after drama after drama, and I was just burnt out.

My second complaint was how unfreakingrealistic this book was. I’m not talking about the scandal. Obviously that could happen and all the fall outs from that. And if that was the ONLY thing going on, I probably would have finished the book and adored it. But the author started throwing in a famous sister and letting the students run the school and having the school faculty doing stuff that would never really happen in real life….and it got to be too much. Realistically, no one would have ever kept Lucy’s secret about her sister. That whole thing was just eye roll worthy. And as a teacher, I had to question where the author was coming from with some of the things that went on in the school. If this was a paranormal book, I might have looked past it. However, this is a contemporary book. And contemporary to me means that it has to be fairly realistic. This wasn’t.

My third complaint with this book was the bullying. I was very uncomfortable reading about it. It also was a trigger for me at times and brought back some memories. I don’t think there was anything wrong with having it in the book, but I definitely didn’t like reading about it.

Finally, I didn’t care for the characters all that much. Probably because they were all super dramatic. I think that this is going to be a great book for a younger audience and maybe for some diehard contemporary lovers, but it just wasn’t for me. Again, I think that if a couple elements were eliminated from this book it would be awesome. But it was just too much.

 

Pages: 368

Publication Date: June 17th 2014

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Rating: DNF

Book Reviews
May 6, 2013 posted by Nichole

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

13600711First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie’s looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she’s caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie’s own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.

 

The S-Word is probably the most haunting book that I have read this year. That says a lot since I read If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, and I thought that was as haunting as it could get this year. The S-Word is sort of told from two perspectives, but the most dominant voice is that of the main character, Angie’s. Angie had caught her best friend, Lizzie, with her boyfriend, Drake, on prom night. After that, Lizzie became a social outcast, and she was bullied so much that she ultimately committed suicide.

Not a week after Lizzie’s death, entries from her journal start circulating around the school. Angie decides that she wants to know who and what caused Lizzie’s death. Who caused her to jump off of that building? Who started the bullying? Why did they think it was their right? How could they be punished? Those were only some of the questions going through Angie’s head, and she was on a mission to seek justice for her best friend.

Along the road to find out what all happened to Lizzie, Angie discovers new friends and enemies and opens up secrets long hidden. She discovers things that she would have never guessed about the people around her, and her best friend, Lizzie. The S-Word is an eye-opening, heartbreaking, and haunting read that will stick with readers, young and old, for as long as they will remember.

 

Chelsea Pitcher’s writing style is so unique and beautiful; I was hooked right away. It did take me quite awhile to finish this book, but that didn’t have anything to do with the quality of the book. No, it was actually pretty tough to read about a lot of the things that happen in this book. I work with kids from daycare to 4th grade, so I’m pretty sensitive when it comes to child abuse and child suicide. Those are huge factors in this book. It made me a little uncomfortable, and I will admit that I had to skim a lot of this book, because I just could not read about those things. This is something that I need to warn people about because some of the topics in this book might be uncomfortable or might hit a trigger for certain people.

I loved the mystery that surrounded The S-Word. So many things were happening at once, and I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. I did guess a couple things, but others floored me. I think that readers will really enjoy this. Everyone loves a good mystery that they can’t guess the answer to right away. Like I mentioned above, though, the mystery can get a bit scary. I had to really put myself in the right mind frame to continue on and solve the mystery, and even then it was too hard for me at times.

There were a couple negative notes for me in this book. First, I didn’t really care for either Angie or Lizzie. Angie was a little weird. She also seemed very dependent on men and very needy. Her relationship with Jesse was awkward and uncomfortable at best. I just didn’t care for her. As for Lizzie, it wasn’t so much that I disliked her, because she’s dead. All that’s really being shown of her are back flashes. It was actually Lizzie’s journal entries that I didn’t like. I haven’t met a teenager who writes like that. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, but her writing was very outdated and old. Very lyrical and poetic in an old fashioned sense. For the most part, I ended up skimming her journal entries, because everything she said was just repeated in the next chapter.

It was also pretty hard to read about some of the topics in this book. It’s not just a book about bullying. You have rape, child rape, child  abuse, neglect, bullying, poverty, gender issues, suicide, etc. That was too much for one book for my personal taste. This is realistic fiction, though, so I can’t really hold any of that against the book. But those are only some of the major issues that are going on in the book. It was just too much.

Even though I have some complaints with this book, I still loved it. I’ve never actually been able to say that I loved a book when I skimmed a large amount of it, but I did. I only skimmed, because I couldn’t bear to read about certain topics. I’m a wimp…I don’t deny it. But the writing and the intensity that Pitcher brings to this book are outstanding. I don’t know how she physically and emotionally got through writing this book, but it is beautiful.

Overall, I would recommend that every contemporary fan go read this book. If you are uncomfortable with any of the topics mentioned above, you might decide to stay away from it. I said before that this book was haunting, and I wasn’t kidding. I finished this book at 1 a.m., and that was a horrible decision on my part. I had the hardest time sleeping after reading that last half of the book. It’s spooky, but it’s addicting. This book releases tomorrow, so make sure you go get your copies.

 

Pages: 304

Source: Finished Copy provided by the publisher

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: May 7th, 2013

Rating: : ★★★★☆

 

Teaser Quote: “I don’t so much as jumps as

Just

Fall

Off.

I’m halfway to the ground when your eyes finally meet mine in recognition.

You step out of the way just in time.

 

Teaser Tuesday: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
Teaser Tuesday
March 12, 2013 posted by Nichole

Teaser Tuesday: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!

To participate all you have to do is:

•Grab your current read

•Open to a random page

•Share “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!

(make sure what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)



Today’s teaser comes from The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Release Date: May 7th, 2013

 Published by: Gallery Books

13600711

First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie’s looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she’s caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie’s own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible

Kennedy pauses, dropping her gaze. It’s like it never occurred to her that Lizzie had a family. “Well anyway, her handwriting was no secret,” she says more softly.
“So anyone could imitate it?”
She nods.
“But only a psychopath would?” I ask.
“Yeah.”
Finally, I lean in. “What about before? Befre she-”
“Before is different.” Kennedy brings her cup to her lips. “Like I said, now it’s deranged. Back then it was just…”
“Life ruining? Suicide inducing?”
She fishes for the dregs wih her tongue. “High school.”

Contemporary
March 11, 2013 posted by Kiona

Speechless — Hannah Harrington

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

Chelsea Knot is known as the school’s biggest gossip. Not only does she spread gossip like wildfire, but she does so vindictively to please her best friend, Kristen Courteau, their high school’s resident princess. During a New Year’s Eve party, Chelsea sees something she shouldn’t and quickly shares the news with Kristen and her boyfriend, Warren. But Warren and his basketball buddies react negatively to the gossip and, in sharing, Chelsea condemns another student to near-death. When Chelsea realizes the horrific effect her words have on people, she takes a vow of silence. Her old friends turn against her and finding new friends becomes nearly impossible when everyone hates or judges her. And now, Chelsea’s on the receiving end of Kristen’s bullying. This story is a lesson in learning just how hard doing the right thing can be.

Oh. My. God. Breathtaking. I’d heard great things about Speechless for awhile and I enjoyed Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, so I knew it was only a matter of time until I picked up her second book. But despite all the positive reviews, I still wasn’t prepared to fall as in love with Speechless as I did. Believe me when I say all of the hype is 100% justified. Even those of you who don’t particularly enjoy contemporaries will love Speechless for it’s message and it’s strong characters. I’m a dialogue-lover; a bad book can keep my attention until the very end if the dialogue is witty and realistic, so I was a little skeptical about picking up a book where the main character takes a vow of silence, but Harrington pulls this off flawlessly. I didn’t mind Chelsea’s speechlessness at all. In fact, I was riveted by her inner thoughts and self-reflection. Chelsea undergoes such a remarkable transformation; she learns so much about herself, the people around her, and the way our actions and words affect those around us.

Every scene in Speechless is ridiculously emotionally potent. Harrington tackles tough, all-too-real topics. While in the middle of reading, I couldn’t help bringing Speechless into every day conversations. It breaks my heart that the events in this book actually take place in our world, though I know they do. But I commend Harrington for bringing attention to these topics and opening the floor for discussion. And I’m just so grateful to her for giving us Chelsea, a girl willing to stand up against what’s wrong and to make a change in her community. Chelsea is such an admirable character. I LOVE that she refuses to back down. My favorite moment of hers is when she confronts Lowell at the vending machine. I am so tired of passivity in books these days, and when Chelsea marched up to Lowell, I was rooting for her to punch him. Yeah, yeah, I know. Violence is never the answer. But some kids just really do need a good smack across the face. I definitely would’ve smacked him. But Chelsea displays remarkable control and maturity in her handling of the situation, and I was rooting for her the whole time. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of a YA heroine before, and that’s saying a lot, given my loyalty to Katniss, Caelina, Lena, and a host of others. Chelsea sticks up for herself and others with a poise I certainly didn’t possess in high school. She’s just fantastic.

In addition, stick any of my favorite characters in a new job at one of the cool town locals and you’ve already ensured my undying love. This has always been one of my favorite aspects of any Sarah Dessen novel: getting to know the new coworkers that become your family at job that becomes a second-home. And Chelsea’s job as a dishwasher/busser at Rosie’s is no different. Harrington gives us a phenomenal cast of characters with Asha, Sam, Andy, Dex, and Lou. Doesn’t seeing all their names together like that just bring a smile to your face? You know that’s going to be a fun group of people. And these are good people. Loyal friends, friends with convictions and opinions instead of cookie-cutter, formulaic characters. Every character in this book simply shines.

The amount of strength portrayed in this book is reason enough to pick it up. I was so thrilled that Chelsea had to strength to visit Noah and to seek closure with Kristen when everything was said and done. These are the scenes I often yearn for in YA novels, but never see. I think this book is so, so important for teens and adults alike to read. Plus, despite being unable to talk, Chelsea still manages a ton of sass and the romance Speechless is super sweet. It literally gave me butterflies. Speechless is a home-run and I can’t wait to see what Harrington comes up with next. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Kody Keplinger will be especially taken with this knock-out of a novel.

Pages: 288
Publication Date: August 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Edelweiss
Rating : ★★★★★

Teaser Quote: “Listening to Eminem makes me feel like a badass. Or at least as though I have the potential for badassery. I mean, the way he sings, it’s like he’d probably punch out a puppy if it looked at him wrong. Obviously I’m not glorifying animal cruelty here, I’m just saying, I could use some of that attitude. It’s better than the attitude I have now of just letting everyone mess with me all the time.

Contemporary
January 26, 2013 posted by Kiona

Blaze (Or Love in the Time of Supervillains) — Laurie Boyle Crompton

Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She’s desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark’s feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her “sext” photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now…

Blaze has a crush on soccer superstar Mark and she’s finally decided to make him notice her. Blaze ignores continual warnings about Mark’s dating past and welcomes his attention. But when that attention starts to fade, Blaze’s friend jokingly sends Mark a picture of Blaze in nothing but lingerie. Not surprisingly, Mark is a huge fan, but after their next date, Mark is done with Blaze. Feeling betrayed, Blaze writes and publishes a comic starring Mark the Shark as the villain. Embarrassed and angry, Mark retaliates by going public with Blaze’s sexy picture. Now, everyone is judging Blaze, calling her names behind her back and to her face. And Blaze would give anything to travel back in time.

Blaze is not at all what I expected. I expected a more comic book-driven/hero vs villain style story. My favorite parts in the story are, without a doubt, the specific references to comics and the world of comic books that Blaze throws herself into. I appreciate her talent and creativity when it comes to writing her own comics. These are the strongest parts of the book, for me.

My problem with Blaze, though, is that I find most of it entirely unrealistic. The first few chapters are fun, promising, and engaging. The game of “Cows” is a cute quirk that I want to play myself. I’m on-board all the way up until Blaze dates Mark. But afterward…first, I can’t see a guy like Mark getting that upset and embarrassed over Blaze’s comic. He’s an asshole and he knows it, so I think he’d be willing to cut Blaze a little slack. Plus, the comic means he gets attention. I can’t imagine that a egotist like Mark doesn’t appreciate attention, even if it’s negative.

Second, there’s the whole issue of the “sext.” Racy pics like these constitute as child pornography. End of story. Our generation is well aware of this and I can’t see Mark justifying seriously breaking the law in order to exact a bit of revenge. But even if he did–consequences be damned!–Blaze (or, you know, anyone in the entire school) could immediately go to the police and have the picture taken down. Ok, fine, maybe she’s too afraid to bring it up to her mom and doesn’t want to involve the police. But the school finds out. Including the principal. At this point, this “sext” would be a major issue. And yet everyone’s fine with treating the incident as a minor case of bullying. No. Just, no.

Third, the way the student body suddenly turns on Blaze rings as completely unbelievable to me. Whispers behind backs, judgments, some catty behavior. All that, I’d believe. But the random students coming up to Blaze just to insult/threaten/shame her? Students that don’t know Blaze or Mark? I’m sorry, but I find that very hard to swallow. Perhaps I just got lucky in high school and this is the way students at every other high school in the world act. But at my school, a group of people would never so openly haze and bully a person they don’t know. And if something like this were to occur, someone would definitely get involved, be it another student, a teacher, or an administrative official.

Last, I had a problem with the secondary characters; they lack depth and development. Blaze’s best friends are catty, shallow, and disloyal. It’s hard to understand the intense attraction to Mark. What are his good qualities, again? Comic Book Guy is woefully, abysmally underdeveloped. As one of the only positive characters in the novel, I feel like he deserves way more attention and a solid conclusion. Blaze’s relationship with her father feels unfulfilled. The only well-developed secondary characters are Blaze’s little brother and his friends. They deliver laughs and a warm, fuzzy feeling.

I’m not a huge fan of the ending. Again, I find the logistics unrealistic. It is near-impossible to get into Comic-Con at the last minute. I mean, I love the idea of Blaze going to Comic-Con. I think it’s a great, fun setting to play around with. But I don’t believe that Blaze (or her brother and co.) could get in so easily. However, I do love Josh’s heroism. He steals the show and gives the ending a bit of a boost. The very end lacks resolution for Blaze and her life from here-on-out, unfortunately. I am left feeling dissatisfied with the book. That being said, it is a light, quick read with a lot of fun elements. The first half of the book is definitely enjoyable and the comic allusions aren’t hardcore enough to go over anyone’s head.

Pages: 320
Publication Date: April 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: NetGalley
Rating : ★★½☆☆

Hooked – Liz Fichera
Book Reviews
January 24, 2013 posted by Nichole

Hooked – Liz Fichera

12369649When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done. 

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…

GET HOOKED ON A GIRL NAMED FRED.

 

As many of you know by now, I run away from contemporary novels. It is no secret that I prefer werewolves and vampires over the reality of the world. I find it difficult to sink myself into a good contemporary book. Is it from fear or disinterest? Who knows. But I have made it my mission of 2013 to read more contemporary pieces. Last year, I fell in love with Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols and Tilt by Ellen Hopkins. After reading those, I knew that contemporary might just be my new obsession.

Hooked is a romantic story about a Native American girl named Fred who has off the charts amazing golf skills. The coach of her high school’s boy’s golf team notices her skills and immediately kicks the weakest link, Seth, off of his golf team and replaces him with Fred. Being torn between loving golf and fearing the hostility that she may experience from the rest of the guys on the team, Fred really doesn’t know how to view this new opportunity. What she does know is that this could be her opportunity to actually get into college. The first Oday that would ever happen to. So she sets her mind to try and ignore the rest of her team and try and have a good time. If only it were that simple.

Ryan is a white, rich kid who just happens to be on the golf team with Fred. He also happens to be Seth’s best friend. And what does Ryan do when he discovers that a girl took his best friends spot on the all boys golf team? He seeks revenge. Unfortunately, Seth has bigger plans for Fred.

Soon enough, Fred and Ryan start to form a bond that neither truly understand. They have these feelings for one another, but they also know that neither would ever be accepted by their friends and families. Join Fred and Ryan on their adventures through golf, betrayal, racism, love and acceptance.

 

I found Hooked to be such a sweet romance story. There were times that I found it difficult to tear my eyes off the page. I simply wanted to read more about these two characters who were finally learning to let judgment go and to follow their hearts. I instantly fell in love with Fred’s character. She was spunky and went after what she want, but, at the same time, she was quiet and fearful of the people who considered themselves to be better than her. I loved her from the instant that she was introduced, and I found myself wanting to defend her so many times. She was such an inspiring character to read about. I simply loved her.

It took me a little longer to like Ryan’s character, because I found him to be an arrogant asshole. It is just common sense not to bully or pick on people because they celebrate a different culture or have a different skin color. Being white or white and rich does not make you a better person. It really doesn’t. So what if you’re white? Good for you. I am too. Someone could be blue, purple, pink or orange, and I would still consider them an equal unless they gave me reason not to. It didn’t matter that Ryan wasn’t 100% bullying Fred himself. What mattered was that he wasn’t stopping his friends from doing so. Sitting back and watching the bullying take place is just the same as doing the bullying.

I loved that this book was about sports! I love sports. I’m the crazy person you will see on football Sunday, screaming bloody murder at my television. I get so worked up that I STILL can rant over the Steelers cheating their way through that damn superbowl. The Seahawks deserved that game. You obviously know who my team is. I’ve never really followed golf. It’s more of a boring sport for me, but I really enjoyed reading about it. I didn’t really understand all the golf terms, but that was ok! Liz Fichera let me know who won each time and that was all that really mattered. I really loved the sports theme, and I hope to see more of that in the future.

On a negative note, I do wish that there would have been more romance throughout the story. It was adorable to watch their romantic hesitation throughout the story, but I wanted more. I wanted to witness that moment where sparks flew and the romance glued itself together. That didn’t really happen for me, but I did really enjoy the story. I also didn’t like how Fred went into a sort of depression when things between her and Ryan went sour. Not being able to eat and sleep over a guy really bothers me. Don’t get me wrong, I like guys to, but I’m not going to harm my mind or my body over them. I’m way more important than that, and I wished Fred would have also realized that.

Now let’s talk about Seth and Gwen, my two least favorite characters. It was hard for me reading about these two characters. Not only did I hate them with an extreme passion, but I wanted to see them acknowledge how horrible and racist they were being toward Fred and Native American’s in general. I had to keep telling myself, though, that that was not realistic. Once a racist, always a racist. It would have been unrealistic for Seth and Gwen to become buddy buddy with Fred and admit all their wrong doings, so I am glad that that didn’t happen. But I hated them.

The topic of racism was a little difficult for me to read about, because I already get so aggressive over people who admit to having racist feelings. I simply do not put up with it. Skin color does not a person make, and I have no patience for people who think they are better than everyone else due to their skin color. I thought it was very brave of Liz Fichera for introducing this to the YA genre, and I really hope everyone goes out and picks up this book.

I believe that the next book is about Riley and Sam which makes me SO EXCITED! I loved both of them in Hooked, and I cannot wait to read more about them. SO EXCITED! Make sure you guys read this one! Really good!

Pages: 368

Publication Date: January 31st, 2013

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Rating: : ★★★☆☆

 

Teaser Quote:“I looked back at Ryan, a dozen new questions filling my brain, then down at our hands, then back into his eyes. Confusion. Frustration. Pure agony. Ryan’s gaze met mine. He didn’t release our hands. My breathing stopped. I needed water but didn’t – couldn’t – slip my hand away from Ryan’s, even though I knew with every brain cell that I should.”

The Bully Book – Eric Kahn Gale
Book Reviews
December 27, 2012 posted by Nichole

The Bully Book – Eric Kahn Gale

The rules governing middle school are often a mystery, but for Eric Haskins, they’re a mystery he needs to solve, and fast. He’s a normal, average kid, until sixth grade starts. For some inexplicable reason, the class bully and his pack make Eric the Grunt. Even his best friend since first grade turns on him. Eric can’t figure out why he’s the Grunt until he hears about the Bully Book, a cryptic guide that teaches you how to “make trouble without getting in trouble, rule the school and be the man” and how to select the Grunt-the kid who will become the lowest of the low. 

Eric Haskins may be this year’s Grunt for now, but he’s determined not to stay at the bottom of the social ladder forever. Hilarious and compelling, The Bully Book is a must-read for every tween, tween parent, librarian and educator!

 

Eric Haskins has just started 6th grade. Up till now, he’s been perfectly normal. He’s had good friends, even a best friend, Donovan. He’s done pretty will at school, he’s never been bullied or gotten into any real fights. Life has always been pretty good for Eric. Of course, that all changed the moment he walked into his 6th grade homeroom class and was labeled the “Grunt.”

What exactly is the “Grunt?” That’s exactly the question that Eric wants to know. Everyone liked him before, so why all of a sudden is he the social outcast? Now, Eric is being constantly bullied by people he’s never even met. He’s being beat up, picked on, humiliated. Poor Eric has got some real trouble on his hands, and he doesn’t even know what he did to cause it.

On a mission to find out what the “Grunt” truly is, he starts to investigate. Shockingly enough, Eric soon learns that he’s not the only Grunt around! In fact, there seems to be one for pretty much every grade level starting after sixth grade. Teaming up with his fellow grunts, Eric sets out to find out exactly why he’s the grunt, what made him the grunt, and how to stop his tormenters and ruin their Bully Book once and for all.

 

The Bully Book was very hard for me to pick up,  because I’ve experienced some of the bullying and trauma that Eric was subjected to. I felt like I was going to be placing myself into an unsafe situation which made me a little uncomfortable. Once I picked up The Bully Book, I finished it in an entire setting. I read The Bully Book in under 4 hours, which is the fastest I have read any book since elementary school.

Eric’s story was so realistic that it simply broke my heart throughout most of the entire book. Bullying is a very real thing that goes on in this world, especially in public schools, which is something that Eric Kahn Gale portrayed very nicely. I was captivated from the very first journal entry, and it lasted until the very last page.

One thing that I loved about this book, and it’s probably going to offend some, is how realistic Eric Kahn Gale portrayed the teacher’s in this story. Many teachers out there do not stand up for their student’s who are being bullied. They ignore it, don’t notice it, blame the victim, etc. Is that harsh? Maybe, but that’s what I experienced. I never had a teacher stand up for me, and I went to many different schools. Many teacher’s will not do anything unless the student who is being bullied directly confronts the teacher about it. Why should the student have to say anything? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are plenty of cases out there where the teacher’s really don’t know that bullying is going on. However, there are MANY cases where they should know. It’s not the student’s responsibility to ask for help. It’s the teacher’s job, and they need to stand up for their student’s.

The substitute teacher in The Bully Book made me so mad. I just wanted to jump into the story and throttle that stupid woman. If student’s were using their vocabulary words to harass another student right in front of me, I would do something about it. I would get student’s suspended or expelled over that, because bullying is NEVER acceptable. NEVER. I was really offended for Eric, and I wish just one person would have really stood up for him.

Another thing that bothered me during The Bully Book were the parents. A parent should know when their child is miserable. They should know when something is wrong. You may not want to admit to yourself that your child is being bullied, but odds are that it has happened at least once. You need to ask your children how other student’s treat them. It doesn’t matter that it’s an uncomfortable conversation or if your child gets angry that you brought it up. What matters is that you took an interest and made sure that they were safe. I honestly, for a large part of this book, thought that Eric was going to commit suicide from the torture that he was receiving. Never once did an adult take an interest in him. Never once did his mom say, “Eric, is everything alright at school?” And his dad? His dad laughed! Not at the fact that Eric was being bullied, but he turned bullying into some sort of joke. It’s not a joke. It’s not funny. It’s actually rather disgusting. And the parent’s in this book disgusted me even more.

I was hoping for a little bit more with Melody, Donovan and Colin, three of the main characters in The Bully Book. Donovan had been Eric’s best friend since the first grade, and, all of a sudden, he hated Eric. He went along with Eric being the grunt and he turned into a complete and utter asshole. I was hoping to see a change in Donovan, and I didn’t. I also wanted to see more interaction between Eric and Donovan. It didn’t matter if it was good or bad interaction, but I really feel that their story is unfinished.

I absolutely despised Melody’s character. Melody played a good friend to Eric, and he also had a really big crush on her. Melody ends up dating the guy who labeled Eric the Grunt, and she watches him get beat up and bullied and doesn’t do anything about it. This is actually very common. I understand that these are sixth graders, but sixth graders are not babies. They know right from wrong, and Melody was definitely in the wrong almost 100% of the time. She’s lucky she wasn’t my kid, because I would have never put up with that. I just wish that we had seen a little more interaction between Melody and Eric towards the end of the book. They definitely have a lot to hash out, and we didn’t get to see that. I’m not sure if there will be a second book, but there’s a lot in The Bully Book that needs to be resolved and finished out.

Then we come to poor, little Colin. Colin was my absolute favorite character, and only a slightly lesser geek in the sixth grade population than Eric. He was so sweet and lovable, and I wish we would have seen Eric and Colin grow into very close friends. That’s what I expected to happen from the beginning, and I was very disappointed that that didn’t happen. I wasn’t very thrilled with how Eric treated Colin, and I really hope to gain the opportunity to watch Eric apologize and have them grow into very close friends.

This book definitely hit a lot of my triggers. If you’ve been bullied, then The Bully Book might be a little difficult for you to read. The messages in it are amazing, though, and I definitely think that everyone should give it a chance. Most importantly, I think that people who haven’t been bullied or people who have bullied other people should read this book. It’s important that you know how you’re making others feel when you pick on them. It’s not ok, and it’s not something that I will or would ever forgive. Bullying is a big issue in America and it needs to stop. The Bullying Book was an amazing read that took me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. My heart broke, my eyes welled with tears, and I swear my blood pressure rose massive amounts. I got angry, sad, happy, fearful….all these emotions that I can’t even describe to you guys. I definitely will be looking out for more work by Eric Kahn Gale. Great book!

 

Pages: 240

Publication Date: December 26th, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins

Rating: : ★★★½☆

 

Teaser Quote: “I hate the Bully Book and I hate the Grunt.”

“Stop making fun of Colin. It makes you sound like an idiot. And stop calling people gay. I don’t even know why that’s an insult. There are real gay people in the world, you know, and there’s nothing wrong with them. Calling someone gay, like it’s a bad thing, is like calling someone a dentist- it doesn’t make any freaking sense!”( Pg 139 ARC)