Thursday, July 25, 2013

ARC Review: Runt by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Author: Nora Raleigh Baskin
Publication: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 23, 2013)

Description: An insightful exploration of middle school bullying from multiple perspectives, by the award-winning author of Anything But Typical.

Elizabeth Moon grew up around dogs. Her mom runs a boarding kennel out of their home, so she’s seen how dogs behave to determine pack order. Her experience in middle school is uncomfortably similar.

Maggie hates how Elizabeth acts so much better than everyone else. Besides, she’s always covered in dog hair. And she smells. So Maggie creates a fake profile on a popular social networking site to teach Elizabeth a lesson.

What makes a bully, and what makes a victim? It’s all in the perspective, and the dynamics shift. From sibling rivalries to mean girl antics, the varying points of view in this illuminating novel from the award-winning author of Anything But Typical show the many shades of gray—because middle school is anything but black and white.

My Thoughts: This book was less a novel than a series of vignettes showing a group of middle school kids coping with the jungle that is middle school. 

We have Elizabeth whose mother is a dog boarder and who always is covered in dog hair. She is also a talented writer. 

We have Stewart who acts like the typical bully and big basketball star but who has a handicapped older sister that he really loves. 

We have Matthew who is talented at basketball but doesn't quite fit in with the other kids. He's suspended from school for punching Stewart in the nose despite the fact that Stewart urinated on his shoes first. 

We have Maggie who decides to put up a fake web page making fun of Elizabeth and then can't take it down before others see it because a hurricane knocks out the power for a week. 

We have Freida who is a talented artist and self-conscious about her braces and weight and who dresses in her own unique style despite her older sister's urging to be more normal. 

All of these kids, and a few other two, bounce off each other as their paths cross during the course of time in a typical middle school. 

It was an interesting story. I did feel that the adults were mostly ineffectual and clueless about what was going on among the students though. 

Favorite Quote:
So while I am here I will try to figure it out as best I can. I want to be fed. I want to have a place to sleep. I don't want to be feared, but I don't want to be hurt. 

I want to know where I belong.

Just like you.
A friend picked up this ARC for me at ALA. You can buy your copy here.

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