________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 19 . . . . May 16, 2008


Taking the Lead. (Bayview High).

A.D. Fast.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada Education Division (Published by arrangement with Tea Leaf Press), 2008.
127 pp., pbk., $27.50.
ISBN 978-0-7791-7531-4.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Elaine Fuhr.

**** /4


Mission Statement:

The purpose of ihatevampiregirl.com is to show everyone that Vampire Girl is a nut case and a loser. She may be part of a violent gang in the area.

I could be dead meat just writing this. But it is for your safety. Besides, she is ugly and I don't want the entire school to catch whatever she has. Keep reading. And get some garlic.


Bullying is rampant in modern society, but most obvious in the school systems. Fear and persecution are felt by hundreds of youth every day. School systems try to combat it with classes and workshops that focus on the destruction that it creates for young people, but still, students are afraid to report a bully for fear of reprisal. Autumn was in this position. She was unsure of who was bullying the quiet, introverted Emma.

     Emma, stage manager for the school's musical, seemed like a very pleasant, talented girl who simply kept to herself, but Autumn, like the other students, didn't pay much attention to her. When the bullying began, everyone began to notice Emma. They watched from the sidelines, didn't get involved or gossiped among themselves, but many did watch a new website set up to harass the Vampire Girl. Events soon led to the demise of the bullying, and Autumn, who had refused to be involved, was rewarded with a new friend, one who had suffered the same pain in the past that Autumn still felt daily.

     A.D. Fast has written an insightful novel about one of the many serious pressures faced by youth today. Bullying is indeed a very serious issue and one that needs to be dealt with on the student level. The cover photograph leads the reader inside the pages of a novel written for teenagers, but less complex text allows students with lower reading levels the chance to explore this topic and enjoy the story. The glossary on the final two pages, gives a description of more difficult vocabulary. This book, part of the "Bayview High" series, is an excellent addition to any junior high or middle school library.

Highly Recommended.

Elaine Fuhr, a retired elementary and middle school teacher, lives in Alberta.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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