Five middle school students come together to orchestrate the downfall of a school bully.
Adam Baker, a white eighth-grader at Anderson Middle School, is tired of being bullied by Principal Parmer’s son, Hill, the kind of smarmy kid who is late for school every morning, bullies half of the kids in school, cheats on every test, and copies homework. The kid who tapes “kick me” signs on classmates, throws kids against lockers, and dumps milk on people’s lunch trays. Adam finds four students who have been victims of Hill’s abuse to join him in concocting a plan to bring Hill down. What might have been another not-so-funny middle school melodrama of pranks and social meanness becomes a heartwarming tale of necessary revenge exacted through an ingenious scheme. The five co-conspirators—all victims, all reluctant outsiders in the school’s social cosmos—come together and find friendship and a sense of belonging with one another. The five new friends’ stories are told in short, alternating chapters, each related as a tightly focused third-person narrative. The kids emerge as fully rounded characters; of particular note are biracial black/white Pearl, who has a list of microaggressions as long as her arm, and detention-magnet Dutch, who has a facial tic and lives with his grandfather.
This big, fast-moving tale of students who unite to take a stand against bullies and find friendship in the process is a keeper. (Fiction. 8-14)