November 6, 2011

Dear Bully: A Panoramic Review (and Canadian Giveaway!)

"You are not alone.

Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal."
(from Goodreads)
Dear Bully edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones

My reaction: Most people have been bullied at some point or other in their lives. This book proves it, providing stories — most of them based on real life — from authors demonstrating that they went through it too. I found it easy to connect with many of the stories, recognizing in them my own experiences and emotions.

They all kind of blended together, none of them in particular really standing out in my mind. Many have a similar message so if you read the book all at once (I didn't) I think it might start to feel quite repetitive. But they feel true-to-life and it's easy to read just a few at a time, as most of them are pretty short. Also, there is no necessary order to the stories so you can jump around as much as you like. However, they are organized into different categories (such as "Just Kidding," "Regret," "Survival") by the themes or formats of the stories.

Best aspect: Gaining a glimpse into these authors' pasts. It was great to see a more personal side to them, fleshing them out as people rather than just writers. And the fact that many of these authors are well-known in the YA reading community (like Lauren Oliver, Kiersten White, and R. L. Stine, for instance) will hopefully make readers more likely to pick up this book.

Also, I found it really interesting that a few of the authors actually had contact, years later, with the bully they so vividly remembered. It was neat to see how both people reacted!

If I could change something... I would have liked a few more stories from perspectives other than those being bullied. While there were some included, having more from the point of view of the bully (or even more importantly, in my opinion, from the point of view of a bystander) would have rounded out the collection.

Also, I didn't agree with specific messages voiced in some of the stories, but that may be more of a personal thing. The overall intention of the book is certainly sound. I do think a bit more practical advice on what to do if you or someone you know is currently being bullied would not go amiss, although it should be mentioned that a list of resources is provided at the back.

In five words or less: tough, true, and hopeful.

Read if: you have ever bullied someone, been bullied, or stood by and watched it happen to someone else. Basically, if you're a living, breathing, human being.

Final verdict: 3.5 shooting stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book for review from the publisher.

And now for the giveaway...

HarperCollins Canada generously provided me with an extra copy to give to one lucky winner!

The rules:

- Entrants must be 13 years or older.
- Open ONLY to Canadian mailing addresses
- One entry per person
- Following and tweeting are not necessary but always appreciated!
- Ends Nov. 20, at 11:59 pm EST.
- Winner will be selected randomly and contacted by e-mail

This contest is now closed.


  1. Ooh, I had been wanting to check out this book! Bullying's always been around unfortunately, but it seems more prominent in the news in the last little while.

    Thanks for hosting a Canadian giveaway! :D


  2. This book doesn't sound like a "fun" read, but it looks extremely interesting. I think bullying really does touch everyone at some point, and I'm glad a collection like this exists.

    Thanks for the giveaway. =)

  3. Interesting points about the book! I want to read this book, because I have never been bullied, ever. So I don't know what it feels like and I don't really know how to... connect? with people who are going through it, and I'd like to read this book to see if that might help give me a different perspective.

  4. I've heard about this book and i enjoy some of the authors. Sounds like an interesting read.


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