September 2010 Issue
August 22, 2010

Check It Out: Brutal

Author: Michael Harmon
Source: NYSUT United

Recommended by: Kelly Wilson, High School Librarian, Canton Central Teachers Association.

Suitable for: 9th grade

Why I chose it: This book takes a hard look at how adults influence the culture in our schools. Are teachers responsible for bullying? Do we separate students into groups more than they do themselves? Benders Hollow High School is a bully-free zone, or is it? Some kids are treated differently. Some are given special treatment; others are ignored. Poe, who is new to the district, sees all of these things. But can she do anything? about it?

How teachers can use this book: Brutal would be a great choice for a young adult book group or for students who are struggling with bullying behavior. It would also be an interesting selection for a faculty reading group.

What I like best: The writing was typical of young adult novels. There is a little romance and a lot of teen angst, but the underlying message of adult complicity in bullying behavior makes this book rise above others.