Bullying Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies & BystandersBullying Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies & Bystanders by John Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Bullying Under Attack” is a work compiled by the editors of Teen Ink Magazine, a publication made for teenagers written by teenagers. As such, all of the stories contained in this respective work are written by teens who write personal accounts on the various angles of the bullying spectrum – victims, former bullies, and/or bystanders. I mentioned in my review of Emily Bazelon’s “Sticks and Stones” that bullying is a complex problem that has roots in various spectra and those aspects need to be addressed in order for people to understand just how complex of a problem it is and how to address solutions on how to stop it. I’m really glad to see that this compilation addresses the multidimensional notations and effects that it has – not just on one party, but everyone involved.

I was sincerely touched by the stories, poems, and artistic talents of the contributors of this work. It takes a great amount of courage, honesty, and trust to be able to share on this difficult subject that’s such an epidemic in our society, and to hear it from the young men and women of a wide variety of backgrounds – whether of a different faith, race, sexual orientation or any spectrum of diversity one could think of – is immensely valuable. I think this is a must read not only for teens, but personally speaking, one of any age group or background could value. I think if more people recognize the various roots that bullying has, as the illustrious and articulate teens in this work have done, we as a society can be one step closer to finding solutions and ways to combat it.

There’s one essay in particular that I want to cite to close out this reflection, which I think really hit home at the heart of this. “Enter Girl”, an essay by Maggie Brooks had this to say on bullying:

“I believe bullying comes from prejudice, fear, and social pressure. I cannot say there will be a day when people will be impervious to society’s expectations. But I do know that we have the capacity to speak out and help others.

…Bullying can’t be fixed piecemeal. If you only help the victim, the bully will have nowhere to go, no one to turn to. And if you focus on stopping the bully, you leave behind a person who has been broken and needs support to put them back together. These characters’ arcs are intertwined, what happens to one affects the other.”

Excellent compilation, and I’m really happy I had the chance to read it. I highly recommend it.

Overall score: 5/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher HCI.

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