Praise for Bystander
Press and Honors for Bystander:
2009 JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION
“Preller has perfectly nailed the middle school milieu, and his characters are well-developed with authentic voices. The novel has a parable-like quality, steeped in a moral lesson, yet not ploddingly didactic. The action moves quickly, keeping readers engaged. The ending is realistic: there’s no strong resolution, no punishment or forgiveness. Focusing on the large majority of young people who stand by mutely and therefore complicity, this must-read book is a great discussion starter that pairs well with a Holocaust unit.” —School Library Journal, Starred Review.
“Preller displays a keen awareness of the complicated and often-conflicting instincts to fit in, find friends, and do the right thing. Although there are no pat answers, the message (that a bystander is hardly better than an instigator) is clear, and Preller’s well-shaped characters, strong writing, and realistic treatment of middle-school life deliver it cleanly.” — Booklist.
“Expertly written and rich on multiple levels, “Bystander” weaves a realistic tale of the bully, the bully’s targets and the physical and emotional pain that the victims suffer. It explores what might happen when someone decides to no longer be a bystander and to do something about the bully’s behavior.” — Kendal Rautzhan, Nationally Syndicated Columnist
“Bullying is a topic that never lacks for interest, and here Preller concentrates on the kids who try to ignore or accommodate a bully to keep themselves safe . Victim David’s pain is evident from the first moment newcomer Eric sees him, but he tries not to acknowledge the reality before him. His mother is trying for a fresh start in this Long Island community, as his father has succumbed to schizophrenia and left her and their two boys on their own. Griffin, the bullying instigator, has charisma of sorts; he is a leader and yet suffers under his father’s bullying and aggression. For Eric to do the right thing is neither easy nor what he first wants to do, and the way he finds support among his classmates is shown in logical and believable small steps. Eminently discussable as a middle-school read-aloud, the narrative offers minimal subplots to detract from the theme. The role of girls is downplayed, except for classmate Mary, who is essential to the resolution, enhancing appeal across gender lines. (Fiction. 11-14)” — Kirkus.
“Plenty of kids will see themselves in these pages, making for painful, if important, reading.”— Publishers Weekly.
“Should be required reading for students in middle school or just getting ready to enter middle school.” – Literate Lives.