BULLYVILLE by Francine Prose

BULLYVILLE

Age Range: 11 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

When eighth-grader Bart Rangely wakes with a fever, his mother stays home from work. They’re sensitive because Bart’s dad recently left his mom for another woman. But the day Bart stays home is no ordinary day; it’s 9/11 and Bart’s flu saves his mother’s life but not that of his Wall Street dad. Because of this, Bart is offered a scholarship to a deluxe private school, Bailywell Preparatory Academy. At “Bullyville,” the 13-year-old is, as expected, bullied by his “big brother.” The second half of Prose’s story has less talk and a little more action, but not much. The story features four distinct ideas—9/11, bullying, dealing with bullying and service learning—that are soldered together to make one narrative. No writer really needs a 9/11 pretext to address bullying. Readers may also wonder about Bart, who sounds too introspective for an eighth-grade boy. The final pages reveal the narrator’s age: He’s a grown man with a family of his own. If Bart is in eighth grade in 2001, how can he be old enough to be a father in a realistic novel published in 2007? Someday, this won’t matter, but in the meantime, it’s just one more flaw in a forced and artificial story. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-057497-0
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2007




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