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He Said/She Said — Teenage bullies

February 22nd, 2012 by Carrie Gleason

girl fightgone bad

Two just-published novels for teens look at bullying from the bully's point of view. As one reviewer said about Girl Fight, "This book hits timely topics, and hits them hard. The rawness of the language and emotion make it a difficult read, but an important one." (Resource Links Vol. 17, No 2) In a debut novel by Toronto writer Faye Harnest, the main character is a bully who attacks others physically. As a reader, we can expect to not want to feel empathy for a bully, but as we follow main character Zadie's struggle not to lash out at people and her ultimate demise when she becomes the target herself, we can't help but feel for her.

Gone Bad by Lesley Choyce offers a similar story from a boy's point of view. In this story, Cody and his friends are bullies who enjoy beating up people who are different than themselves. But through association with a girl and a new band, Cody begins to realize he has to think before he acts and that violence will not get him what he wants.

Want to make Girl Fight and Gone Bad part of a classroom read or book club selection? Click here for a downloadable discussion guide (.pdf) for these two books.


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