Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 08/01/2012 Gr 3–5—Lyla begins sixth grade at a new school in the San Francisco Bay area and makes friends with Jamie, a short, overweight boy with a big smile. She gets good grades, becomes a cheerleader, and attracts the attention of a clique of popular girls. For a while she successfully balances her friendship with Jamie and her time with Gage, Kenyon, and Maeve-until she sees them writing hurtful things on the Facebook walls of their classmates. When she breaks with the clique, Gage warns her that no one dumps them. Their revenge comes in February, when Lyla is accused of stealing one of the state tests. Horrible messages ("EVERYBODY HATES YOU," "OMG WHAT A CHEAT," and "DROP DEAD" among them) appear on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and her cell phone. Helpless to clear her name, she turns to Jamie, whose computer skills trace the messages back to Gage, who stole the missing test. Gage must take responsibility to avoid suspension, but Lyla and Jamie wonder how much will change. Will they hope for the best or transfer to another school? Rendered in pencils and markers, the artwork realistically portrays-through their body language and wonderfully expressive hands-what these youngsters are feeling. Polacco captures the insidiousness of cyberbullying and, in a letter to her readers, warns again of its dangers. Paired with the author's Thank You, Mr. Falker (Philomel, 1998), this picture book will spark intense and much-needed discussions.—Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 12/01/2012 Like Toney Allman’s nonfiction title Mean behind the Screen (2008), Polacco’s powerful picture book dramatizes how online abuse has intensified the cruelty of bullying. New to her school, Lyla links up with Jamie, another new kid in her sixth-grade class, and they become close friends. Dramatic line-and-watercolor artwork shows the two outsiders in the lunchroom, excluded by the geeks, the nerds, the toughs, the sports kids, and especially by the “celebrity” table of the most popular girls. After Jamie gives Lyla good advice about getting a cell phone and a laptop and helps her create a Facebook page, she feels more connected. Then, though, Lyla becomes so cool that the popular crowd invites her to sit with them––but only if she breaks from Jamie. And she does, until they show her what fun they are having humiliating her friend on Facebook with cruel images and insults. After Lyla stands up to the “celebrities,” they take ugly revenge. Kids will recognize the charged scenarios of anger and hurt and the seething contemporary middle-school social scene. Great for group discussion. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.

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