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Author: Preller, James
In writing in his journal about middle school classmate Morgan Mallen's suicide from bullying, Sam explores whether he was a friend, or one of the bullies who ignored her at school and tormented her online.
Kirkus Reviews (07/01/15)
School Library Journal (07/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2015 Gr 6–9—A compelling look at the aftermath of bullying, from the bully's perspective. Sam Proctor thought it was funny the first time he posted a hateful comment on Morgan Mallen's social media page. It was just a game, after all, and superpopular Athena Luiken said it was his turn to play. Even after Sam befriends Morgan and starts hanging with her outside of school, he continues to post anonymous trash on her page. When Morgan jumps off of a water tower and kills herself, Sam is forced to confront his actions and wonder if a bully can every truly be forgiven. Told through journal entries, Preller's latest novel expertly captures the protagonist's voice, complete with all of its sarcasm, indifference, and, at the same time, genuine remorse. Readers will relate to the teen, who's less a bully than an average guy who gives in to peer pressure and inaction. This fast-paced story will spark discussion on cyberbullying, depression, and how to deal with tragic events. However, the ending introduces an element of magical realism that dampens the impact of an otherwise persuasive realistic tale. VERDICT While the conclusion falls short of the strong setup, this book stands alongside other well-crafted titles on bullying, such as Dori Hillestad Butler's The Truth About Truman School (Albert Whitman, 2008) and Preller's Bystander (Feiwel & Friends, 2009).—Kimberly Ventrella, Southwest Oklahoma City Library - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2015 Sam Proctor is just an ordinary guy, neither an athlete nor a scholar. He goes with the flow, which is why he was part of the gang who piled on a girl named Morgan. A few comments on her home page, some name calling—it was harmless, right? But the taunts and posts grew uglier until Morgan stepped off the town’s water tower and killed herself. Sam now wonders about his culpability. At first, he rationalizes: he wasn’t the worst of the bullies, and it’s not like he pushed her off the edge. In short, episodic chapters, Preller provides readers with a rare glimpse into the mind of a bully (though Sam would never admit he is one). The pace is fast, yet the story unfolds slowly, one piece at a time. Readers will put this puzzle together, eager to see both whether Sam ultimately accepts his role in Morgan’s death, and the whole story of what one person could have, and should have, done for Morgan. Pair this with Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (2007). - Copyright 2015 Booklist.