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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bystander by James Preller

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by James Preller

In this quick-paced novel that is often assigned in classrooms, Eric is the new kid in town.  He is quickly involved in a complicated drama between the popular kids and "ketchup boy."

The popular kids are led by the charming Griff and Eric is flattered, if not a little suspicious, when Griff pays him some attention.  It doesn't take Eric long to figure out that Griff isn't as sweet as his outward appearance may seem.

What was interesting to me was the subplot of the fathers in this story.  Both Eric and Griff are keeping a secret about their fathers.  Are they the same?  Or does it just look like they share the same horrifying experience?   

Soon Eric has to decide if he is going to be a "bystander" or stand up for what he knows is right.  Preller has written a novel that will be familiar to many teens, and a good starting point for discussions on bullying.  I can see why so many educators choose this book for their students to read.  What would you do in this situation?

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