I received a free copy of this book from Tommy Nelson for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
Almost a year ago to the day. I wrote a rant about bullying. I gave you my thoughts on bullying, where it starts and how I thought we could best work to end it. I would love for you to read or re-read that post here before you read this post. Then you will have my perspective on bullying before I share today's book review with you.
A few weeks ago our teens and kids led our church service. One of the skits the teens did was a version of Not My Problem (you can watch a version of this skit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JojKhxXZoBc). I think this skit is a great reflection of the way we have treated bullying in the past. It isn't the problem of the parents because it doesn't happen in front of them, it isn't the problem of the teachers because they are there to educate- not to handle social issues amongst students, and it isn't the problem of a student unless they are the bully or the victim. It is now more than evident that bullying is in fact now a problem for all of us. Children are killing themselves and others, social media has given a direct outlet for cyberbullying, even celebrities are now in on bullying teens (come on Rhianna, really?).
So I stick with my original statement that a top 10 list of ways to combat bullying isn't going to solve this HUGE problem. My solution was to return to the golden rule and that's one of the ways the characters in Nancy Rue's new book So Not Okay start to combat the issue at their school.
Tori is a typical sixth grader at Gold Country Middle School. She enjoys her life with her 2 friends Winnie and Ophelia, her dog Nestle, and average parents. As the story begins Tori's life has a red circle day. The mean girls at her school take aim at her and criticize her eyebrows. Tori is devastated but feels even worse when the group of girls turn on sweet spirited, meek Winnie. When a new girl named Ginger comes to the school, the "Wolf Pack" becomes even meaner. Poor Ginger doesn't stand a chance against them.
Will Tori ignore the problem as long as it doesn't affect her? How can Ginger get help if even the teachers seem to turn a blind eye? Everything changes when Tori's favorite teacher Mr. V assigns a big group project......
I attempted to do a video interview with Apple so you could hear her thoughts on the book straight from her but YouTube and my phone aren't getting along today. So here's a transcript of our discussion:
I am talking with Apple, age 9, about So Not Okay by Nancy Rue. What did you think about the book?
I liked it. I liked that it was talking about bullies.
Have you ever been in a situation when you felt like you were bullied or someone you knew was being bullied?
Not me but a friend of mine has told me about some mean girls at her school. It's gotten better for her now though.
Have you ever been in a situation when you felt like maybe you were bullying someone else?
Yea...my brother sometimes.
In the book there are several characters. Can you tell me which character you felt like you related with the most?
I like Tori. I think I relate to her because she like tries to help a friend when nobody else will help her.
And even though you are homeschooled and the girls in this book go to public school, do you think you understood the situations?
Well yes because I go to music camp and I might encounter a similar situation there.
What do you think kids need to know about bullying?
That kids that bully most of the time they have people at home that aren't nice to them so they try to have power over others because they don't have power at home.
There will be more books in this Mean Girl Makeover Series. Will you be interested in reading them, are you excited about that?
This was a long book (284 pages), did it take you a long time to read?
Longer than usual!
Last question, Tori likes to make lists like A, B, etc. What did you think about that?
I first thought of me because I always like to say 1 or 2!
That's what I thought. Well thank you for your time today!
So there's your "review" from a tween.
I think this is a great fictional read for the tween age group. Mean girls do exist and they do tend to travel in packs. Tori and her friends stick together and follow some simple steps like the Golden Rule. I think girls need to read this book to see that bullying is unfortunately common but that it isn't impossible to overcome. If your girl has tendencies to bully, this book will give her a great perspective on the other side of the story. I asked Apple about bullying but really we are very blessed with her close knit group of friends. They are loving and kind to one another and I believe if they were faced with a bully they would stand up for one another.
This book is the first in the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy. I will be making sure Apple reads the next 2 books as well.
Now I have 1 copy to giveaway to a reader. Use the Giveaway Tools widget to enter for your chance to win. See a sneak peek of the book here.
I received a free copy of this book from Tommy Nelson. All opinions are my own.