The Bully Book

The Bully Book.jpg
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
December 26, 2012
ISBN
9780062125118
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The rules governing middle school are often a mystery, but for Eric Haskins, they’re a mystery he needs to solve, and fast. He’s a normal, average kid, until sixth grade starts. For some inexplicable reason, the class bully and his pack make Eric the Grunt. Even his best friend since first grade turns on him. Eric can’t figure out why he’s the Grunt until he hears about the Bully Book, a cryptic guide that teaches you how to “make trouble without getting in trouble, rule the school and be the man” and how to select the Grunt - the kid who will become the lowest of the low.

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!

Editor review

1 review
Hilarious and Utterly Charming
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
I think I can count on exactly one hand, minus one or two fingers, how many Middle Grade novels I actually enjoy. Now I have one more to add to that number. I admit to being very skeptical of of the genre for myself because they just don't usually work for me. I can appreciate them from a literary standpoint and may even recommend a few titles to younger readers, but they don't always hold my attention as well as I'd like. There is only one other MG novel that had me this excited and that was A Monster Calls for obvious reasons. But The Bully Book was hilarious and utterly charming.

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.
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