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Bystander
by James Preller
PUBL. RECOMMENDED AGE: 10 and up
LEXILE READING LEVEL: HL600L {what is this?}
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2009
NO. PAGES: 240
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
MAIN CHARACTER GENDER: Male
ISBN: 0312379064
READ & REVIEWED BY: Shannon - StorySnoop


The Story
Bystander—Book Review

Eric is the new kid in town and just starting seventh grade. When a kid named Griffin, who seems to be cool and popular, tries to befriend him, Eric feels a little less lonely. But soon Eric discovers that his new friend is a ruthless bully that rules the school and has all the adults fooled. Eric wants to do the right thing, but in a shocking turn of events, he becomes Griffin's next target.
The Scoop
Bystander—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

This award-winning author delves deep into all aspects of bullying. Eric is a good kid who struggles with his parents' recent divorce and feelings of anger towards his schizophrenic father. He eventually forgives his father and begins to correspond with him. Eric watches Griffin do things he knows are wrong: verbal abuse, humiliating and hitting a boy, stealing, lying, and blackmailing people. But Eric sees a different side of Griffin, too: charming, charismatic, and a victim of his father's physical abuse. Eric finds support in Mary, a girl who just renounced her bully friends after taking part in cyber-bullying, and is now an outcast. Eric takes a stand against Griffin, and finds himself betrayed by an unlikely person. Eric is beaten by a mob and tells the school counselor, which makes the situation worse for him. He resolves the problem by breaking into Griffin's house to confirm that the town's stolen goods are in Griffin's room. This book demonstrates the damage that can be done with words, the danger of mob mentality, and how it can take a lot of courage to do the right thing.
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