This book was great on a few different levels. First of all, the stories in this collection speak plain truths about bullying when many people would still rather pretend that bullying is not a huge problem in our society. Secondly, it challenges the notion that bullying is a normal rite of passage — it says, unequivocally, that bullying is wrong, that no one should have to put up with being bullied, and that people who do nothing about bullying they witness are also guilty. And, most importantly, this book helps to give hope and resources to those who need it most.
Many teens have killed themselves because they felt they had no other way to escape their tormenters. While the news coverage somehow manages to make this seem like a new problem, bullying and “bullycide” has been around for a long time (even if the terminology they use is new). By opening up about their own experiences with bullying — whether they were bullied, stood by and allowed others to be bullied, or were active participants in bullying — these authors show that they know what kids are going through and understand how horrible bullying can be. They also help to illustrate that life CAN get better… as long as you stick around.
I thought it was very brave of these authors to relive some of their most humiliating and/or shameful moments; to lay it all out there so readers can learn from those awful experiences. And I thought it was extremely smart for the editors to include resources at the end of the book — one section for teens and another for parents and educators — so that people can find the help they need to deal with bullying in their own lives. Quite frankly, I think this book should be required reading for tweens, teens, parents, and all teachers/adults who work with kids. I just pray that this book makes it into the hands of people who need it — especially bullies who need a wake-up call or bullied kids who are running out of hope.