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Hazel, not a nut ISBN: 9781843624486
Lobel, Gill
Published by Orchard, 2004
There are three serious issues in this book, of which bullying is the most central. The others are obesity (or at least being seriously overweight) and bulimia. Hazel is fat, and she feels she has no friends but Leanne, a black classmate in year 9. Another classmate, Lauren, has taken to bullying Hazel about her weight, making fun of her at every opportunity and sending her seriously hurtful text messages. Lauren is a right horror, but we begin to see that it is Hazel, in spite of all her problems (including mitching school for a week because of them), who has loving, supportive parents and the mental strength to carry her through. Lauren, who has controlling, high-achieving parents, is a victim too, and it is her bulimia (and Hazel's finding out about it) that becomes the crunch point for both girls. Told in the first person by Hazel, the story teaches us a lot about what it feels like to be bullied, to feel friendless, to be brave, to stand up for others. The school, when they discover what has been happening, is supportive and sets up a Mediation Service - the pupils themselves becomes counsellors to younger pupils. This is a believable book with a style that will appeal to teenagers and pre-teens. The issues are faced realistically. Hazel gets sensible help with her weight problem and Lauren with her pushy parents. An excellent choice for young people with multiple difficulties.
Age: 11+
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