The Bully Book
Eric Haskins may be this year’s Grunt for now, but he’s determined not to stay at the bottom of the social ladder forever. Hilarious and compelling, "The Bully Book" is a must-read for every tween, tween parent, librarian and educator!
The reason why I think I connected so well with this book is because it covers a topic that everyone must have dealt with at some point in their lives as kids. In a place where hormones are at first bloom, where no one wants to be left out and everyone wants to be accepted, it's not hard to see the potential for problems. That's where we find the main character Eric. He essentially discovers that he has been labeled "The Grunt" of his grade and proceeds to become the victim of bullying even by a boy who was once considered his best friend. But what I loved about Eric, besides his witty comments, was his determination to not sit back and accept this role his peers decided for him.
The Bully Book chronicles Eric's quest to discovery with both journal entires from himself and pages of the actual Bully Book. I really enjoyed this stylistic choice because it added a nice layer of mystery and suspense. Eric is racing to find the original creator of this book that was systematically created to ruin one kid's entire school life. It was so compelling, I found myself caught up in the allure of discovering the author as well.
By the end, though the book is short, I realized just how many issues it tackled: Mob mentality, peer pressure, emotional distress of a child that is bullied, the conflicted feelings of bystanders unsure of how to help and, ultimately, the ramifications of the damage it does to a person's self-confidence well past when the bullying ends. These are huge issues and I feel the author did such a great job of presenting them in not only a thought-provoking manner, but in such a way that kept my attention for the entire duration of the read.
Final Verdict: I've learned something from this experience. Your next favorite read can surprise you and come in the most unlikely of packages. This is a great read for kids that seamlessly entertains and enlightens.