Author: James Preller
Reading Range: 4.2 (AR Finder)
Interest Range: 6 and Up (AR Finder)
Plot: Eric has just moved to a new town. One day he is playing basketball when he sees a boy running past him. It seems the boy is running away from something. After that a group of kids come up and he meets Griffin for the first time. Griffin is very charming. At first, Eric finds himself telling Griffin things that he does not talk about with anyone. Things about his dad and the mental illness his dad suffers from. Then, he starts to learn who the real Griffin is. Griffin likes to use the kids in his group to bully others. He likes to “play” with people. After Eric witnesses Griffin using another student to bully a boy, he starts to avoid Griffin. Griffin notices and he starts to bully Eric. Eric has to figure out how to get Griffin to stop bullying him and to break his hold over the group of boys who hang out with him.
Review:  What is interesting about Eric is he starts to realize his role in allowing Griffin to get away with bullying people. He stands by the first few times not doing anything but he come to know that by doing that he is still taking part in the bullying. He recognizes he is a bystander. That causes him to walk away from Eric and to start questioning him. This book shows how easy it is to fall under the charm of another. Griffin is charming and he knows how to use it. He gets people to things. He gets another boy, Cody, to beat up Eric. After Cody beats Eric up, he starts to question why he did that. Cody notices that Griffin is able to get him to do things that he might not ordinarily do. Most people think bullies bully because they are lacking social skills. That is true of some but some have great social skills. They like causing other people pain and they like the power. Griffin likes having the power to get other boys to do what he wants and he does not get in trouble for that. I would recommend this book to middle school students. I think this is an interesting book about bullying.
Additional Info:
Main Characters:
Eric-Recently, his family moved to a new town. He does not know anyone before he came. He starts hanging around Griffin before he discovers who he really is.
Griffin-He is the bully of the school. He is charming, at first.
David-He is Griffin’s main target. He wants Griffin to accept him so he will do anything to get his attention.
Mary-She becomes Eric’s friend. She knows what Griffin is really like.
Cody-He is Griffin’s main henchman. He follows Griffin’s lead.

Theme: Injustice, Power and corruption

Bibliographic Info:

Preller, J. (2009) Bystander. New York, NY: Feiwel and Friends

Tagline:  A bystander? Or the bully’s next target?


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