By: Margaret Willey
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (A Div. of Lerner Publishing Group)
Publishing Date: October 2012
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 15, 2012
In this day and age, one of the most frightening realities in America is the subject of bullying. In this amazing YA novel, not only has the author gone in-depth on this subject, but does so by offering a mysterious plot, fantastic characters, and a wealth of emotions that will truly leave the reader with something to think about!
This is the story of three very close friends who find themselves in juvenile detention because of something bad they did - a kidnapping that may or may not have happened the way the victim claims it did. The story is told by each of these friends putting together their own journals for their social worker to read; a way of providing background into their home lives, their school lives, and perhaps offering a better understanding of what occurred and the things that led up to the supposed crime.
Katie is a teenager who was once part of the 'cool' click whose friends dropped her when she took up with people who brought their 'cool clout' down. She befriends a young girl from the south who came to her school the year before, and Katie wants nothing more than to protect her from the true bully of the school who can't seem to leave the girl alone. Nate is Katie's best friend. This is a young man who longs to be a writer and should be, considering he speaks like a Tolkien character and lives in a world that's filled with ideals, strong beliefs, and the strength and courage of knights. Renata is the tiny girl who's being bullied by a seriously angry young man and his jock friends. The boy is the 'King of Popular' - even his parents are the 'best of the best' in the town they live in.
The adults play a large part. Renata's parents are a bit on the cold side, basically ignoring her. Katie's mother is a dominant woman who seems to want to live Katie's life for her, and makes sure to tell her daughter when she's hanging out with the wrong crowd. However, she does like Nate - whose family life is not even close to perfect, which is why he spends a great deal of time in his imaginative, creative mind.
When these three get together to offer some payback to the bully, they soon find themselves locked up. However...this is not an open-and-shut case. Although the popular boy claims he was kidnapped by the three, there is an actual secret - a pact - that's stopping this trio from telling the truth.
All parents should want nothing more than to stop bullying once and for all, and this is one novel that speaks to both parent and teen. Exciting, sad, triumphant and truly realistic all at the same time, this writer explores every facet of what is really going on in our schools nowadays; things that are causing children to commit suicide because they can't deal with the pain and agony of being teased and taunted by others. The writing is remarkable, and being able to spotlight this very dangerous problem while still weaving an unforgettable plot, shows that this is one author with a true gift!