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BULLYVILLE Publishers Weekly,In a taut, brilliantly controlled novel, Prose (After) dissects the unspoken dynamics that create bullies and their intended victims. Bart Rangely, the narrator, has begun eighth grade when his father dies in one of the Twin Towers on 9/11, and because his mother would have been at the same office except for Bart's illness that day, he achieves unwanted fame as the Miracle Boy. (Nobody knows that Bart's dad had left his mom for another woman.) The publicity lands Bart a full scholarship to prestigious nearby Bailywell Prep, known to the locals-with good reason-as Bullywell. The scenario Prose then unfolds is all the more chilling because it is not especially outrageous but, rather, recognizable. Bart's mentor, Tyro Bergen, "too handsome to pass for a regular kid," steadily persecutes Bart, and although he eventually retaliates, Bart feels obligated to protect his mother's illusions about Bailywell. The headmaster accommodates the deep pockets of Tyro's parents, who fund Bart's scholarship and have their own reasons for confusing the manipulation of others with compassion and generosity. Few YA authors tackle issues of class so smoothly: the school, a microcosm of privilege, has no room for a middle-class kid unless he is cast as a lesson for the others, and the Bergens, Bart realizes, will always be allowed to write the lesson plan. The pace is quick, and the characters' motivations on target and revelatory. Connecting grief, rage and violence, Prose's insights are piercing and powerful. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Harpercollins Childrens Books
CHILDREN'S FICTION, DEATH_FICTION
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