New Beginnings

I love the idea of a new year, of turning the page and fresh beginnings, old failures pushed away and forgotten, a clean slate, room with space enough for wild new hope to grow.

Happy new year everybody.

I want to post about my 2011 Word of the Year — authentic — but don’t have time to get to it today. But that focus, those thoughts, really do connect to today’s post. I’m writing to share a really tremendous review of Bystander that I found on the blog, Teen Book Discussion . . . All Grown Up. It was almost spooky reading it, in a Twilight Zone kind of way, because it’s as if the reviewer, Brandy, climbed into my head and absolutely understood why I wrote the book the way I did.

It’s just so validating to have someone get out of a book what you, as the author, think you put into it. Click here to read the whole dang review.

The money quote:

This is the most realistic look at middle-school bullying I’ve read. It’s not a flattering portrait, but it is realistic, and I think that’s important. By “realistic,” I mean that the kids mock the “don’t be a bully” assembly; our hero admits that the kid being bullied sort of asks for it, even though that doesn’t make it right; school administration talks a good game but ultimately the bullying persists; in the end, the bully is still a bully, he’s just moved on to different targets. Because of its realism, I think this would make a great book for discussion and I’d love to see it replace the hokey Revealers that’s currently the 7th grade Required Summer Reading book. Unfortunately, because of its realism, I don’t think that will happen — much better to leave kids with the idea that three outcasts can write letters to their classmates about being bullied and not be mercilessly teased for it, or that lots of people sharing their stories of being bullied will make the bullies have this epiphany and suddenly become choir boys. Ahem.

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