Bystander by James Preller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The best books have child characters that feel as though they could easily be walking down the corridors of my school - this is one such book. Eric's desire to fit in, his confusion about his role in Giff's crowd, and his growing maturity rang true: I could name two or three boys I know that are going through the same stages that Eric is.
Being the new kid is never easy, and when he sees a boy running (ok, fleeing) he decides not to get involved until he's clearer on what's going on. During the next few months, he learns the consequences of not getting involved (and there's a heavy-handed sequence with adults lecturing about it, something I'm sure all my students experience whenever there's a bout of Bad Behavior at school; I'm sure my students feel the same way as these students do), and how to maybe - in a way - start moving in the right (aka "adult") direction.
My fear is that this book will be used as bibliotherapy rather than just as another great MS boy read.
(Free ARC received from publisher)
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