Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gateway 25: Brutal by Michael Harmon


FINALLY! A female main character! And really, this was a good book. Our main character is Poe, yes, named after Edgar Allan Poe. Her mother, a really good doctor, has decided to move to some third world country to take care of patients there, and so has shipped Poe off to live with the father she doesn't remember, in a small town. She's used to living in LA and being part of a punk rock band. However, Poe has also been kicked out of many schools. Poe gets to the small town and finds out her father is the counselor at her new school. She meets the boy who lives next door and goes by the name Velveeta. He's a little bit off, and as you'd expect, he gets bullied, a lot. Poe makes friends with the mayor's son Theo. Theo is also a bit unusual for the town.


Poe comes across the school bully really beating Velveeta up and stops it. Later on, she does slaps the bully's girlfriend, who then won't tell him who it was that did it, so he assumes it was Velveeta. He and other football players pull Velveeta in the bathroom and he begins beating him up very brutally. Only the fact that Poe finds out and tries to stop it, screaming loud enough that a teacher hears, stops it. But because Velveeta and the other witnesses all refuse to say what actually happened, no one can do anything about it. So the school tries to have a bully awareness assembly, but of course the only people who show up since it is not mandatory are those who are being bullied.


Poe gets angry. A lot of what she says in this book is really true. And I agree a lot with her. She even points out something I've always noticed. Some of the "odd" or outside of the popular people are just as cliquey and judgemental as the people they claim are that way. But what it takes Poe a bit to see is that she is just as judgemental and elitist about those people as she claims they are. But she does realize it, and that is what I like.


With the bullying going on at my school this year, it was really good to read this book. I think that it is true that there are so many things that make it impossible for schools to do anything, I'm not saying this is good or acceptable, just that it is true. And it sucks. In the end there is a pretty good solution, but it sucks that it often has to go that far, or that it doesn't ever get taken to the point where something can happen to change it.


Only one more book for me to read on the Gateway Award nomination list. Can't wait till I can read something of my choosing! And I'm thinking it will not be a YA book for a few weeks, or few books, whichever comes first or last.

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