Author: Michael Harmon
Genre: Realistic YA
About the book (Taken from Goodreads):
With her martyr-doctor mother gone to save lives in some South American country, Poe Holly suddenly finds herself on the suburban doorstep of the father she never knew, who also happens to be a counselor at her new high school. She misses Los Angeles. She misses the guys in her punk band. Weirdly, she even misses the shouting matches she used to have with her mom.
But Poe manages to find a few friends: Theo, the cute guy in the anarchy Tshirt, and Velveeta, her oddly likeable neighbor—and a born victim who’s the butt of every prank at Benders High. But when the pranks turn deadly at the hands of invincible football star Colby Morris, Poe knows she’s got to fix the system and take down the hero.
With insightfulness, spot-on dialogue, and a swiftly paced plot, Michael Harmon tells the story of a displaced girl grappling with a truly dangerous bully.
The best part of this book is how little Poe Holly really knows herself. Like so many teens, she has an “identity” and sees herself one way and everybody else another. Poe’s spunky and rebellious and not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right, all admirable characteristics, and certainly what makes her likable. But she’s also very much like her mother, and takes on her own “martyrdom” the moment she steps foot into the school, shoving everyones mistakes in their faces and holding them up to her own unreachable standards.
Poe is relentless and not always likable, but that’s what makes her the only one who can change Bender High. She takes on the system without flinching, but she’s almost as hard on her friends as she is her enemies, and in her own way, truly brutal.
Overall: Four Stars. As the title suggests, Harmon doesn’t hold back the brutality that is bulling or the damage that it causes. This book certainly has its dark moments, but push through and you’ll find a satisfying ending