I learned last week that Bystander earned a starred review from School Library Journal. I believe it will be in their January edition, but don’t hold me to it. My editor, Liz Szabla, sent me an advance copy of the review. Sorry, I don’t have a link or an inkling of where to find one. I can’t substantiate that this is in fact, fact. Possibly I’m making it up; this is all a dream, like Season Nine of “Dallas.”
Here’s a quote from the review, written by Connie Tyrrell Burns:
“Preller has perfectly nailed the middle school milieu, and his characters are well developed with authentic voices. The novel has a parablelike quality, steeped in a moral lesson, yet not ploddingly didactic. The action moves quickly, keeping readers engaged. The ending is realistic: there’s no strong resolution, no punishment or forgiveness. Focusing on the large majority of young people who stand by mutely and therefore complicitly, this must-read book is a great discussion starter that pairs well with a Holocaust unit.”
While I’m tooting my own horn, here are a few other review quotes:
“Preller displays a keen awareness of the complicated and often-conflicting instincts to fit in, find friends, and do the right thing.” — Booklist.
“Eminently discussable as a middle-school read-aloud.” — Kirkus.
“Plenty of kids will see themselves in these pages, making for painful, if important, reading.”— Publishers Weekly.
“Should be required reading for students in middle school or just getting ready to enter middle school.” –- Literate Lives.
“I think it would make a great read aloud or literature circle title. I can imagine some great conversations and writing stemming from the story.” — The Reading Zone.