Posts Tagged 'bullying'

Gutless by Carl Deuker

Genre:  Sports Fiction

# of Pages:  329

Brock Ripley has always considered himself gutless because he tends to shy away from aggressive plays in all sports.  He’s even considering quitting soccer for next season because he feels responsible for losing the championship game for his team.  Then, he’s asked to play with Hunter Gates in the local park because he needs to practice throwing the football to someone.  He’s nervous, but Hunter is the kind of guy you do not say no to and you desperately try not to get on his bad side.  Brock is fast and has an eye for the ball, but is terrified of getting tackles in a real football setting.  Hunter’s dad tries to convince Brock to try out for football because they think the two of them could be a good pair.  Brock’s parents need some serious convincing to let him even try out, but as a freshmen who has never played before he ends up on the freshmen team and even on that he is not a superstar.  Meanwhile, he befriends an outgoing, silly, nerdy, Asian kid named Richie who immediately becomes a target for bullying from Hunter and his friends.  As Brock tries to be friends with Richie and play on the football team he finds himself ignoring the harsh treatment that Richie keeps getting from the older, bigger players.  Eventually things escalate and Brock must decide whose side he’s going to be on.

Fans of sports fiction will once again enjoy this new addition by Carl Deuker.  He includes both football and soccer action that sports fans will love, but also includes a lot on the topic of bullying that is so timely today.  The foreshadowing will instantly put the reader on alert with a sense of foreboding, but the characters are engaging enough that you have to keep reading to find out what happens.

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Fifteen Seconds of Normal by Alex Marestaing

fifteen-seconds-of-normal

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages 292

**special review**

Kaeya is a recent transfer who is hiding the fact that she has Tourette’s from her classmates.  She wants people to accept her for who she is and not the disease she deals with daily.  Thatcher learns that his father has left his mother when he finds his mother crying inconsolably and he has to take his sister to school without even taking the time to shower or comb his hair.  Unfortunately, it is picture day at school and he takes the worst photo of his life.  Even more unfortunate for him is that a classmate makes a meme out of the picture and it goes viral.  As Kaeya desperately tries to fit in and earn a date with her crush, Thatcher wonders if he’ll ever survive this humiliation.  Through unexpected circumstances they come together and begin getting to know each other.  Could they be exactly what the other person needs?  Could this be the beginning of something special?

This book tackles issues that many other books don’t, such as the influence of social media on teenagers and Tourette’s, which is a syndrome many teens probably do not know much of anything about.  Yet, the focus of the book is not on hate, judgment, or humiliation but instead on love, patience, and kindness.  Kaeya and Thatcher are extremely engaging characters and their thoughts and emotions are carefully crafted so that the reader wants to know more about each of them and how their relationship will continue to develop.  This is a really engaging, unique story that will take teens by surprise.  Recommended.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Genre:  Suspense/Mystery

# of Pages:  294

RAC:  Yes

This take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, features 10 teenagers who were lured to a weekend house on an island for a party that they find out was never happening.  Instead, they start getting killed off one by one in extremely odd fashion.  Meg accompanied her friend, Minnie, to the party even thought she had some reservations to begin with.  She is also the only one who tries to think of constructive ways to get off of this island.  All of her ideas are thwarted, however.  There is no power, Internet, phone service, radios, or any way to contact the outside world.  They have ascertained they are indeed alone on the island which means the killer is among them.  How can they survive if they do not even know who or what the threat is?

This mystery is still a lot of fun even with the updated characters.  They all have past issues that all teen readers can relate to and in most cases those issues contribute to why they are on this island.  There are some plot revelations that are fairly predictable, but the suspense and overall pacing of the story will keep readers interested all the way until the very end.  A fun mystery story.

Princess of Las Pulgas by C.Lee McKenzie

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  348

RAC:  Yes

Carlie, her mother, and her brother must move from their home after the death of their father/husband due to the mounting medical bills.  Not only must they leave their home, school, friends, and neighborhood, but they must move to a rough part of town that is the rival of their old school.  When they begin their new life they are all still dealing with the loss of their father/husband and therefore appear disengaged from their daily activities.  Carlie in particular is targeted as being standoffish and is criticized for believing she is better than everyone else.  Can she ever find a place for herself in this new school?  Will she ever find a way to cope with the loss of her father?

This story shows how the death of a loved one can and often does affect every aspect of a teenager’s life.  Carlie’s mother is clearly struggling with the loss of her husband, but at the same time is having a difficult time helping her children come to terms with the loss of their father.  Carlie’s brother, Keith, and herself handle their new surroundings differently, but the reasons behind their actions are very much the same.  Carlie’s perception at her new school clouds her experience and makes her easy fodder for bullies.  All in all, a good story about a family coping with death and transition after death.

Seeing Red by Peter Lancett

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  221

RAC Book: No

Tom lives a very privileged life and frankly is not afraid to show it.  His parents are very busy professionals and he finds himself on his own a lot.  He loves divulging what labels he’s wearing and how fancy his house is, but he doesn’t have real close friends to discuss real issues with.  When he meets Sylvia he thinks she might be the one to finally understand him.  She shows him the wonders of cutting and he finds himself going down the same path whenever he has difficulty dealing with an issue in his life.  Sylvia is not as invested in the relationship as he is, however, and his ability to cope with the possibility of losing her comes into question.

Tom’s voice is very honest and easy for young adult readers to identify with.  Reluctant readers might find it especially easy to engage with him as he says everything he is thinking and does not really care about how it sounds.  Tom deals with many difficult issues such as abortion and depression, but it is handled in a way that readers can easily understand.  There is some strong language used at times to help Tom describe exactly how the people around him talk.  Fans of Ellen Hopkins would like this title, but encourage any reader who gravitates toward titles like this to feel comfortable discussing it with a teacher, librarian, or guidance counselor afterward as some of the material can affect some students more strongly than others.

Quad by C.G. Watson

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  296

RAC Book:  No

This story focuses on high school students from different cliques being thrown together in fear as an unknown shooter begins to take out students in the quad.  The six students all have their fair share of insecurity and have battled in high school antics, but they have trouble deciding who they think has snapped and brought a gun to school.  As accusations and fears fly they all must evaluate their own behavior as well as the behavior of others in the school.  They quickly realize that more than one person has reason to bring a gun to school.  Will they survive this threat?

This is a very accurate portrayal of the different cliques present at most high schools.  Along with the cliques comes the cruel treatment and calculated bullying and insults.  While accurate, parts of this story are difficult to read and may bother some students.   Quad is not the best bullying book out there, but would work well in combination with others such as Hate List and Wish You Were Dead and would be interesting to reluctant readers.

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.