Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories

Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.

Thoughts:

This book was a really interesting read. I’m not usually one for reading short stories or anthologies, but I knew this one would be a good one to read. It’s so important that we’re talking about bullying because it’s such a pressing issue for many people. The statistics about bullying are shocking e.g. every 7 minutes a child is bullied on the playground… it breaks my heart.

Dear Bully is intriguing because it’s told from authors who have been bullied, who observed bullying and did nothing and also have bullied themselves. Some of the tales are particularly moving and poignant. They also take different forms and the poetry letters to a bully really touched me. Words are so powerful, whether written or spoken and some of these author’s experiences broke me.

I really enjoyed Dear Bully because it was such a raw read. The authors really didn’t hold back. I think it’s so important to read books like these to know that you’re not alone and that you can stand up for yourself.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An important book to read if you’ve been bullied or you were/are a bully!

Some Girls Are

Some Girls Are

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Cracked Up To Be
All The Rage

Synopsis:

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard—falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High… until vicious rumors about her—and her best friend’s boyfriend—start going around.  Now Regina’s been frozen out, and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina were guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth, and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.  She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past whom she herself used to bully.  Friendship doesn’t come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend…if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don’t break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens, as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.

Thoughts:

I’m working my way through Courtney Summer’s books, after I really enjoyed All The Rage and Cracked Up To Be. I didn’t know what to expect from Some Girls Are. I knew it would be intense as I’ve come to expect from Courtney’s books. Some Girls Are is NOT an easy read. It’s incredibly tough to read and involves some extreme bullying and mean girl behaviour. I was surprised at how rough the bullying was. Courtney Summers really doesn’t shy away from tough subjects and I really appreciate that.

Regina Afton is going to be a character that really divides readers. I had moments of liking her and moments of hating her! Liking her confused me, as she really isn’t a nice character. Regina used to be part of a popular group of girls at her school. She was happy to rule the school with her friend Anna. Anna is the leader of the little gang of mean girls. Regina does some terrible things to others. She’s blunt about what she’s done.

All of the trouble starts when Regina is attacked at a party. One of the mean girls, Kara, encourages Regina not to tell the truth to Anna about what happened to her. Regina agrees but later finds out that Kara was lying. She’s spread a vicious lie about Regina. Regina finds herself shunned by her friends and becomes an outcast. This is where some horrific bullying begins. Regina is not innocent. She’s angry and gives as good as she gets. Her hate really comes through. I have to admit that the bullying was horrendously uncomfortable to read about. The group of girls really don’t have any limits to how they will tear Regina down. There’s physical fighting, vandalism, websites set up (don’t you just love social media?!) and horrific rumours. They want Regina to suffer. Even though Regina is not a nice person and she doesn’t exactly help herself, I felt for her as I wanted someone in her life, be it a teacher or a fellow student, to step in and help her. Yet at the same time I felt conflicted, because Regina isn’t innocent. The only person that would really speak to Regina, is Michael, another social outcast at the school.  Regina hasn’t been great to him in the past so their friendship is on very wobbly ground.

I have to admit that it is the characters that kept me glued to this book. I’m still thinking about it several days after reading it. The characters are so flawed, however Courtney begins to explain why throughout the story. Regina’s story is interesting, if uncomfortable to follow. I wanted her to feel sorry for her previous actions, I wanted her attacker to be punished, I wanted the bullying to stop…it was all too much. At the same time, I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s an incredibly raw and difficult read but I think it’s an important book to read.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Not an easy book to read. The bullying is horrendous, the characters are flawed and it’s full of so much hate. However, it is utterly compelling!

Tease

18599820

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hachette Children’s Books

Synopsis:

Emma Putnam is dead, and it’s all Sara Wharton’s fault.

At least, that’s what everyone seems to think when Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma’s shocking suicide. But Sara is sure she hasn’t done anything wrong, because Emma brought it on herself. Sara is adamant that she was the victim – not Emma.

Inspired by a true story, TEASE is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt you long after the last page.

Thoughts:

Tease is billed as a thought-provoking must-read book and I have to agree. It is thought-provoking. It didn’t take me long to read at all and it’s one of those books that proves that you don’t have to particularly like a character in order to enjoy the book. I enjoyed it, but I can see that a lot of people are going to have a problem with it.

Tease isn’t a really unique story. It’s a story that’s been told many times, but it’s told from a new perspective. Tease is essentially a story about high school bullies and the typical high school cliques. Emma Putnam is known as the school slut. Tease starts after her suicide. Emma was repeatedly targeted by Sara and Brielle, who use their popularity to encourage others to bully Emma. Sara is the narrator of Tease. It’s told in two time frames, one before the suicide and one after. I think they both worked well, but I was never quite sure whether to trust her or not. She didn’t mean for Emma to die, but at the same time she is not ashamed of her behaviour at all and believes that she should have attacked and humiliated Emma, because Emma ‘stole’ her boyfriend and was a slut.

I think a lot of people are going to love or hate this book because it does have such a strong subject matter. Also, the main character Sara, doesn’t seem to show any remorse whatsoever about Emma’s suicide. There’s also slut-shaming involved too. Sara and her best friend Brielle, seem to call Emma a slut quite frequently, and because of the unreliable narrator, the reader never really gets to know if Emma has done what it’s rumoured she has. And even if she had… it doesn’t mean that Emma deserved to die. I think a lot more people would warm to this book, if Sara and Brielle showed some real remorse for what they had done. I didn’t particularly like the message that Sara was portraying… that bullies are not to blame for the bullying. I imagine this is how many bullies try to justify their bullying ways, but for me I couldn’t accept it.

Whilst I didn’t love this book, I thought it was an interesting read, if only to read what effect bullying has on everyone. It’s not just the bully and the victim, it affects families and friends too. I think bullying can be so much worse in modern times due to Twitter and Facebook. Amanda Maciel does touch on Emma being bullied on social media, which is important to highlight. I just wish in this story (and in life!) that a death wasn’t the result of such horrible behaviour.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!