Posts Tagged 'bully'

Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  323

Adam lives in Blackwater where jobs, food, and everything else are scarce and life is hard.  He lives with his disabled brother and harbors a secret crush on Sadie Blood, the girl who runs the bike repair shop.  Every year there is a brutal bike race and the winner gets to go to Sky-Base, the amazing city where there is plenty of everything including food and opportunities.  Adam would love to abandon this hard life for the easy one in Sky-Base, but he always worries about leaving his brother and Sadie behind.  Also, there is a group of thugs who enjoy terrorizing everyone around Blackwater and Adam isn’t sure he has what it takes to beat them.  Then, tragedy strikes and Adam knows that his only shot is to race and win.  Does he have what it takes?

This book is action packed and full of suspense as Adam navigates this dangerous track and competition.  Fans of The Maze Runner series will really enjoy this title as it has similar exciting plot twists and dangerous actions.  It’s easy to get engaged with the characters as they fight for their lives on an hourly basis in this tough town.  The ending will leave readers wanting more.   Recommended for reluctant readers.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

eleanor and park

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  325

RAC:  Yes

Park is a half Asian student who lives in a tough neighborhood of thugs and bullies, but has always managed to stay under the radar.  Eleanor is a new student who has bright red curly hair and is a bit overweight.  She immediately becomes a target for the bullies at school and Park takes pity on her and allows her to share his seat on the bus.  They do not talk at first, but eventually they start sharing music and comics.   Eleanor never talks about home, however, and as their friendship begins to shift toward a more romantic relationship Park begins to understand why she never discusses her family.  Can Park protect her from the bullies in her life?  Does he have the courage to do so?

This powerful modern day romance will connect with John Green fans who enjoy unique and truly memorable characters.  There are many interesting descriptions used and information about both Eleanor and Park is revealed through surprising and yet realistic means so that the reader truly learns certain pieces of information at the exact moment that it occurs to the character.  Highly recommended.

Scrawl by Mark Shulman

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  234

RAC:  Yes

Tod is a bully who has been caught sneaking into school property after hours.  His punishment is to go to his counselor’s office each night after school for detention to write in his journal.  At first he hates this, but eventually he comes to find it cathartic.  His counselor begins to see a whole new side of Tod and finds some answers as to why he acts the way he does at school.  He is very honest and smart in his journal and the readers learn a lot about his home and school life.   Can Tod find a way to change his ways and survive school without resorting to bullying?

The idea of bullying is a tough issue in any school.  This book does not in any way condone bullying, but does offer the suggestion that there may be some underlying causes that vary from student to student.  Tod probably opens up a little easier than most students would, but it is still interesting to see how his perspective on the journal changes with each entry.  This could be a great class read because it would open up a great discussion of treatment in school by all students as well as the many forms of bullying available, which now definitely includes technological bullying.  Recommended for boys and reluctant readers.

The Road to Dendura by C.L. Lewis

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  261

RAC Book:  Yes

Creed Griffon goes to a private school where students occasionally go missing.  After  a girl who tends to bully Creed she goes missing, he is immediately a suspect due to the altercation they were overheard having prior to her disappearance.  Meanwhile, Creed keeps having disturbing dreams that slowly start bleeding into his real life.  He comes to find out he is much more involved with the paranormal activities at his school than he could have ever realized and it might be up to him to save the missing students.  The more he learns, however, the more danger he finds himself in.  Can he find out what he needs to in order to survive?  Can he clear his name even as evidence mounts against him in the disappearance of the girl at school?

Fantasy fans will love this book, especially ones who like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson.  The story moves quickly and engages young readers from the beginning.  A few of the plot details seem a bit murky at first, but clarify as Creed begins to learn more about his school and his personal situation.  The characterizations develop as the story goes on and readers begin to care what happens to them.  All in all, a nice fantasy read that should have no problem finding an audience.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  440

RAC Book:  Yes

John came here when his planet was destroyed.  Eight others came with him and were separated to keep them safe.  There was a spell placed on them so that they must die in a particular order, but John knows that the three before him have been found and killed.  Therefore, he must move with his guardian to a new place, with a new identity, and extra precautions.  He is the next one to be targeted by those who wish to destroy his people.  At his new school he meets Sarah who seems different than other girls he has ever met.  Can he risk getting too close to her when his life is in jeopardy and his future on this planet is uncertain?  Can he act like a normal teenager when so much is at stake?

This fast paced novel keeps the reader interested from the first page.  There are some lighter parts as well as more action packed sections that balance the story and make it seem plausible in some way.  The characters are engaging and their actions are believable.  Fans of fantasy will enjoy the threat from other worlds, but realistic readers will enjoy the action and suspense.  Overall, a fun read.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  405 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

In this gripping novel, Valerie is shocked when her boyfriend, Nick, brings a gun to school and begins shooting students.  She tries to stop him, but ends up getting shot in the leg before he turns the gun on himself.  In the aftermath, a notebook is found at Nick’s house of a list of people the two of them kept whom they hated.  People were put on this list for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they bullied Nick or Valerie or encouraged it in some way.  As Valerie courageously returns to the school for her senior year, she must face the repercussions of Nick’s actions as some people blame her and believe she should be in jail.  Others seem to think she is a hero for trying to stop the shooting and want Valerie to move on, but can she forgive herself for not seeing this coming?

This story forces every reader to think hard about his or her actions.  Everyone knows what it feels like to be picked on in some way and can identify with Nick and Valerie, but at the same time must decide how bullying should be punished.  Also, this book asks us all to think about how bullying can be stopped in schools or if that is even possible.  Valerie’s psychiatrist asks her to look at things for what is there and not what appears to be there.  This is something we should all be a little better at, but unfortunately it is often difficult to see the reasons behind certain behaviors.  Highly recommended.

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  212 pages

RAC Book:  Yes

Austin is a fourteen-year-old girl who lives in Texas with her mom.  Her father died six years earlier in an accident on Christmas Eve, which has left her mother a little traumatized and overprotective.  There is a family of bullies who think they can do anything in the town because they have money.  One in particular likes to criticize Austin at every chance he gets.  As Austin deals with the bullying, she decides that she wants to be the sweetheart of prosper county so that she can ride in the parade and no one could ever make fun of her again.  In order to do this she must raise a chicken to enter in the county fair.  It’s a very long process to raise a chicken and get him ready for the county fair, but Austin believes if she does this it will be the first step toward becoming somebody in this town.  Will she ever feel the courage to stand up for herself?

This heartwarming story follows a girl who has many things to deal with including a mother who has withdrawn from her life, and a terrible bully who thinks he can do anything because his father owns the corrupt mayor.  As she grows up and matures, she begins to see that she is the only one who can really change things for herself.  The characters are well-developed and fun to read about and the plot is so interesting and fast paced that anyone will want to know more about county fairs and raising animals.

Endgame by Nancy Garden

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 15 and up

# of Pages: 287 p.

RAC Book: NO

Gray Wilton and his family have just moved to a new town partially due to his behavior in the previous town. The book is set up so that Gray recounts the events of the past year to his attorney, but the reader does not know why he needs an attorney for a while. Gray began the school year with a positive attitude. He wanted to have good grades and play drums in the band, but despite his best efforts he becomes the target of some ruthless bullies. If that’s not bad enough, he fights with his father a lot because he does not feel he can be honest with anyone regarding the bullies and therefore gets into other kinds of trouble on his own. As the year goes on, things get worse and worse until Gray feels he must take drastic and disturbing measures.

This book focuses on violence in schools. While some scenes in this book may be a tad dramatic, there are probably many students out there who live life with daily fear of getting made fun of or physically injured at school. Gray’s reluctance to seek help starts to seem difficult to understand as things continue to get worse for him. In the end, it is clear that he has no idea what he has really done and what it means for the rest of his life. This is a powerful story that contains no easy answers, but many questions for adults and teens to consider about this difficult topic.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 250 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Tyler struggles with both his home and school life. His father works for one of the most powerful men in the community and struggles to please him. The stress of his dad’s job transfers to a difficult home life for Tyler as his father often takes his frustrations out by yelling and him, his mother, and his sister. Although his dad never hits anyone, he is not afraid to yell and throw tantrums in order to get the respect from his family that he thinks he deserves.

At the same time, Tyler is still remembered for a vandalism prank he pulled the previous year. He is constantly picked on and ridiculed, but the most popular girl in school, who also happens to be his dad’s boss’s daughter, has decided to show some interest in him. When Tyler makes a difficult decision at a party to walk away from a bad situation, he ends up landing in even more trouble than he could have imagined.

This powerful story will resonate with readers in a similar way to Anderson’s popular Speak. This story asks many questions about high school life such as: Do the rich and powerful always win? Can someone be beaten into submission? Can someone survive abuse in all aspects of his or her life? Is it possible to stand up for yourself against all powerful forces? Students will find this story haunting but possible, which will leave them thinking about these questions long after they have finished reading.

Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  273

RAC Book:  Yes

This real life tale follows a girl who faced heavy bullying from fifth grade on through high school despite being transferred to two new schools in the process.  Her parents hated seeing her as an outcast and tried everything they could think of to help her fit in including buying her designer clothes and taking her to a psychiatrist.  Unfortunately, the solution offerred by the psychiatrist was to put her on medication and have her try harder to fit in socially.  At the crux of all her problems in every school was her insistance on defending those around her who needed it.  Those people ranged from nerds to physically handicapped students. Every community is different and faces difference kinds of bullying, but it is hard as an adult to look at students picking on those who have disabilities. 

 There are instances where Jodee finds people who are willing to be friends with her, but almost always those people are presssured by the mass to back away again.  If things weren’t bad enough, Jodee also has a physical condition that she is unable to remedy until she turns seventeen.  Of course, once this condition is discovered the students make fun of her even more. 

In the end, Jodee attends her high school reunion, which seems unusual considering she hated these people so much she wrote a book about the experience.  She comes to find that several of those people do not remember what they said or did or pretend like they don’t.  Since Jodee is now very successful they all want to congratulate her and be her friend.  Forgiveness is a powerful virtue, but it seemed almost too easy for Jodee to forgive these people after the physical and emotional abuse she experienced that sent her into a depression in high school.  The fact she is able to share this story will be a comfort to those enduring the same thing and possibly a wake up call for those instigating it.  It’s a powerful story that all teenagers should read and discuss.