Review Detail

A Bully's Journal
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
In this book, Niko Kayler is a proud, trouble-making, 7th grade bully who
cannot seem to stay out of trouble. After getting in trouble at school
for tormenting his classmates, Niko is sent to a therapist in the hopes of
realizing the wrongs of his bullying ways. At the instruction of his
therapist, Niko is forced to keep a journal of his actions. While not
thrilled of his assignment, Niko soon comes to the conclusion that this
journal will one day end up being a "how to" resource guide for bullies
everywhere.

With the threat of expulsion from the 7th grade, Niko takes you through
his thought processes with descriptive tales on how and why he bullies his
fellow students, brother, neighbors and adults in his life. Most entries
are joined by funny, cartoonish drawings depicting the narrative of his
journal entries and gives even more insight to the workings of his mind.

While a lot of this book is relatable to the age group that it is geared
towards, the journal entries and incidents tend to be a little over the
top. While not always realistic, the depictions are funny. I did find
that the vocabulary used by Niko seemed to be more advanced than that of
an average 7th grader. The book does touch on the inner workings of
Niko's mind and what could possibly be the reasons for his bullying ways.
It does spotlight him as a kid who also has issues of his own and how he
deals with them.

The book deals a lot with the ongoing issue that all children have either
experienced personally, or at the very least, have witnessed being done to
someone they know. I do think that readers will be able to relate to
either Niko or some of his victims. However, the ending does not have the
"perfect" ending you might assume. Niko does have moments of regret, but
none that seem to stick and encourage him to turn over a new leaf. As
with all "villain" type stories, it is nice to see that Niko does
experience a "taste of his own medicine" from other bullies. But in the
end, he really does not learn from his actions. The bullying he received
just fuels the fire for him to take revenge on the bullies who did him
wrong.

Overall, this book was written in a way that was both humorous and
relatable. I definitely think that kids will enjoy it. While the meaning
of the book is not what you would expect (a complete stand against
bullying), it is informative in a fun way that does shed light on an issue
most kids deal with. It is a quick and easy read that flows really well
and one I would recommend to my children.
Good Points
The illustrations within the journal really help give a visual of what is going on in Niko's mind. It is a very easy read and written in a fun, humorous way.
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