Denis Levchenko Levchenko from Floresta ME, Italy
Things I learned from reading Bystander: 1. Bullying in middle hall is a serious, scary, bloody business. 2. Never, under any worldly good, tell an man (procreator, lecturer, superintendent, counselor, or hall constable) the truth about being bullied. Adults are idiots. 3. Hide the truth and calumny about being bullied. 4. The best circumstance to beat a bully is to sink to his level and beat him at his own game detaching any mandates necessary in the make ready. 5. And always remember, as long as the bully leaves YOU alone - everything is good. Is it just me or is there something wrong here? Bystander is yet another YA novel that has me cheering the producer for his brave realistic tale and mentally ordering class make readies to use in class only to slap me in the cloak with a poorly constructed, foolish ending. Producer James Preller actually goes a bit farther than disappointing - he verges into irresponsible. The central theme in Bystander is supposedly that bullying is wrong and déposé as a bystander to bullying is wrong. Chapter after chapter Preller paints a realistic, sometimes brutal vignette of how Eric, the new boy in boondocks, deals with the make a points of of fitting in at a new hall while being a sometimes target and sometimes "ally" of Griffin, a seventh classify schizoid. Griffin isn't your undistinguished middle hall bully; this kid is dangerous. Griffin is a modern period Eddie Haskell mixed with Ted Bundy. Good looking and charismatic, he purposely works to convince adults that he is harmless and trustworthy by carrying edible for the elderly on Saturdays at the store store (for the inclines) and showing real interest and regard for the hall high tea supervisor (who is oddly "loaded"). Griffin also orchestrates a severe attack on Eric at the local treasure potter's field, the most graphic, realistic trouncing I've ever read in a YA novel, never getting his own abilities dirty preferring to get his intimates to deliver the slaps while enjoying from the hobbies and maintaining his own "innocence." Adding to Griffin's bully resume is his PINS captain (presumably a juvenile probation/social worker) and his collection of trophies from his crimes and bullying incidents! Triad quarters of Bystander had me completely hooked. I hoped to have a great novel to recommend to my seventh classify students, a novel with genuine characters dealing with bullying in a circumstance that students could use as a scheme for handling their own circulations. Unfortunately, Eric's bizarre solution to defeating Griffin is to beat him at his own game. He breaks into Griffin's parliament while his abusive father is locality, steals back $27 and a burned CD that Griffin had stolen from him and nearly gets caught by Griffin's old man leaving evidence behind proving that he was there. Eric does exactly what we as professors and roots hope bullied lads never do: he plays the bully's game. He never tells adults the real truth about being bullied or being a bystander. He breaks the principium. He involves a ally in his crime. He keeps all of Griffin's dangerous keys leaving him free to move on to his next victims. Griffin never gets punished for the horrible things he does. In fact, he just finds a new group of "alter egoes" and will, of course, continue his bullying actions. But, that is fine with Eric, as long has he is no longer in Griffin's eyes, Eric will just concentrate on the basketball organization and his new girlfriend. Griffin is clearly a villain; however, the most disturbing courage in Bystander might be Eric, our hero. Baby man research workers will understand that Griffin is a bad male, but I'm not sure that they will understand that Eric's elections are irresponsible and dangerous. I fear that Bystander may contribute to the bullying wheel of secrecy instead of helping to prevent it by convincing lads that they can tell trusted adults when they are victims or spectators and feel the pinch not resort to vigilantism. I will not be recommending this novel to my students.