Archive for the ‘bullying’ Category

“I sit in my tree
I sing like the birds
My beak is my pen
My songs are my poems.”

“Words should wander and meander. They should fly like owls and flicker like bats and slip like cats. They should murmur and scream and dance and sing.”

“We stand dead still and we listen to the night. The city drones. An owl hoots and a cat howls and a dog barks and a siren wails.
We let the stars shine into us.”

You know, everyone with good sense has to love David Almond’s gift of laying magic on hundreds of pages.  My Name is Mina is no exception as it introduces the reader to an exceptional, precocious little girl who loves birds is given the permission and the gift to be herself by a sad and wise mother.  School is a horror for Mina.  Alternative schools are  tolerable but not the right fit for her.  As her mother told the principal, Mina would have her as a teacher, a wonderful yard and her own tree.  In that tree are the black birds to inspire, scold and teach Mina.  Almond shows he is a writer’s writer with this beautiful story that will be wasted on many.

David’s Website



Following Christopher Creed (The Steepleton Chronicles) Mike Mavic, an aspiring college journalist has been following the disappearance of Christopher Creed for four years.  When an unidentified body is located in the hamlet of Steepleton, Mike rushes there with his girlfriend/girl Friday, RayAnn.  There is a positive ID, and it is not Chris.  Mike and RayAnn meet an array of teens and adults down on their luck, all stemming from the disappearance, or so it seems, of Chris Creed years ago.  Between the lightning that emanates from the ground and the spooky, skeletonized forest where kids hang out, and Chris’ drunken mother’s rants, the stage for a creepy conclusion is set.  As Mike’s deadline approaches and no Chris appears to his druggie younger brother, Justin, a turn in the story takes one by surprise.  Clues were there, but deftly disguised by Plum-Ucci.  Fans of the first novel will be intrigued and foiled in their attempt to solve the mystery.

Carol’s Website

Noelle tries to keep herself invisible, from the bullies at school who make fun of her clothes, bump her in the hall and hoot over her lettuce and mayo half sandwiches made from the slim pickings at home.  Her mother only allows Noelle a room, otherwise, she is totally neglected.  She settles for whatever she can get, even boyfriends, meeting Matt clandestinely, instead of study hall, for make-out sessions.  Being blocked from walking down the aisle in Spanish by gorgeous Julian Porter, Noelle fantasizes about the perfections of his eyes, hair and build.  She can feel his smile as she sidles past him  to get to her desk.  Things could be worse, she could live the tormented life of Ali Walsh, the only one in the school bullied more than her.  Ali has invited Noelle to her home, but Noelle is afraid of increased torment if their relationship grows.  After a particularly horrible lunch scene, Noelle is invited to work on the school literary magazine that meets during lunchtime, and it really beats hiding in the restroom crouched on top of a toilet seat.  Simon, the student editor,  brings loads of food each day “for the staff.”  Another guardian angel, Sherae,  manages to help with mall runs at times of desperation.  I like the wisps of hope in the novel, and how Noelle lifts herself up on the shoulders of friends whose acts of kindness far outweigh the daily taunts.

Dealing with bullying is never easy, and Susane shares her own high school endurance race with it.  She has started a program for schools called “Your Ideal Life” which helps young adults plan for their better lives.

Susane’s Website

What kind of man will create an unbearable family life because of his professional humiliation?

One son leaves to work in China. Another son does not return from college to visit home. They both leave their sister and mother to suffer from the emotional and verbal whippings of the father. They had their share. But Terra carries an extra burden, a large port wine birthmark that covers the side of her face. Another target for needling from her father. Terra’s mom takes her to Seattle for yet another attempt to cure the birthmark. On their way home they spin out on ice and rear-end Jacob and his mother’s SUV. And here starts amazing friendships that heal birthmarks deeper than the skin. Terra and her mother learn about themselves in…China!

You will not like the dad, but you will cheer for everyone else in this amazing story.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

Justina Headley Chen’s Blog

Catholic schools have not been the scene of such violence since Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War.

Paul Varderman, an everyman high school student, just tries to keep it together as he navigates through bullies, girls and strange teachers at his private school. But this school is home to its own frightening sociopath. Roth, big, neanderthal, strong and brilliant, who thrives on the groveling and simpering of fellow students. Roth threatens Paul if he does not become a delivery boy to a rival at the neighboring school. That terrifying encounter is the unraveling of the lives of bullies and “the freaks.” This is an unforgettable story that you and your friends can talk about for days.

ENDERS’ Rating: ****

Anthony’s Website

David Klass has been one of my fav authors ever since reading the hilarious-poignant-gripping You Don’t Know Me. Stuck is about a snail alien who is sent on a mission to earth to determine if the human race should be annihilated in order that the superior Lugonians, whose planet is in crisis, can inhabit and clean up the earth. Our alien observer, Ketchvar III is to inhabit a 14-year-old’s body, one Tom Filber, and with this human transport, observe the human race to see if there is a glimmer of humanity in humans, or if they are ripe for destruction. Ketchvar discovers that he has landed into a hateful and dysfunctional family, that Tom is bullied at school, and that the major industry in town is clandestinely flushing toxins into the river. Ketchvar is sure that the world will soon belong to the Lugonians. With the help of Tom, an ancient science teacher, and the lovely Melissa next door, Ketchvar exposes the evil paint company. But to what danger has he exposed himself and others? Klass continually entertains us with alien-learns-cultural-nuances humor while he tells this tale of intergalactic imperialism. This book packs great messages in an page-turning package.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

David Klass Info on the Web

Joachin says this book is about time travel that is not. But what do you call a premise where a character comes back to his younger body to right a wrong? Kelly, football star on the fast track to college success, wakes to find that his world has changed. That change totally confuses his girlfriend, Jenna, and sidekick, Patrick who has been tagging along and following Kelly’s lead ever since the fateful wreck that took Patrick’s little brother’s life. Everyone is trying to make sense of the change in Kelly and time travel is never ruled out. The action is framed around a nasty bullying scene in which Kelly, Patrick and the rest of the football team teach a ninth-grade Edmund a lesson he won’t forget. Edmund doesn’t. The climax of the changes in Kelly, of Patrick’s stand against parents who love Kelly more, and of Edmund’s revenge culminate between the championship game and prom night, never to be forgotten. Joachin creates amazing metaphors and similes on practically every page, good enough to be textbook examples. I couldn’t put the book down. But I still don’t understand it!

ENDERS’ Rating:*****

Joaquin Dorfman’s YouTube

Alright! Another author making the world dangerous for young people. Wait! Our world is dangerous for young people, but not in this way….

In this page-turning suspense/science fiction/action novel Thomas wakes up to find himself in a lift, aka, elevator. He can remember…his first name. He is welcomed by a group of boys who have developed their own society of lost boys with amnesia. A newbie arrives monthly. Food and supplies appear every two weeks. They are surrounded on every side by a gigantic maze with gigantic doors that shut every night against the horrors in the darkness of the maze. Their main objective: to find a way OUT! Thomas feels like he knows this strange place. Stranger things happen. The lift delivers a shocking surprise and everything changes.

A sequel is due in October, The Scorch Trials. I would tell you to read slowly, but you won’t.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

James Dashner’s Website

Ernie tries to keep a low profile, a challenge since his large size marks him “fair game” to taunts and tricks of high school jocks. The new guy, Will, his Jack Sprat, defends Ernie. The bullying escalates. Luckily, the boys have more in common than the school terrorizing. They are fishermen: Ernie is into freshwater trout, and Will is into open ocean. The boys decide to introduce each other to their style of fishing, Will’s first. Will’s father launches Ernie, Will and Sam, Will’s ornery little brother, into the brink alone while he scurries to the closest bar. Catching “THE ling” quickly escalates into a horrible accident that changes Will forever. For a short time the jocks avoid the boys, but then Ernie is brutally attacked and Will plots revenge for his friend. Ernie’s Uncle Max, a writer and Ernie’s guru, tells him that he needs to follow his gut feelings, to act rather than wait. Will Ernie act soon enough?

ENDERS’ Rating: Heavy topic in a quick and compelling package!

CRH’s Website