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The bully ISBN: 9780003303193
Needle, Jan
Published by Collins Cascades, 1997

Simon is unattractive, clumsy and pathetic. Known by teachers and children alike as 'the lump' or 'spastic', even his single mum finds him difficult. A prime target for bullying, he cannot articulate the problem. No one suspects that nice Anna Royle and her friend Rebekkah could possibly be bullies. Isn't Simon the bully? He is found with a rock in his hand, and he knocks over Anna's brother's lunchbox, seemingly on purpose. Only the deputy head teacher suspects the truth, and proof is hard to come by. Anna and Rebekkah are so devilishly clever. When Simon is suspected of letting the school gerbil out of its cage, we know that it is Anna who has planned its escape. It is only after a near tragedy, when the girls take their bullying to cruel extremes, that the truth comes out. But there is no happy ending. The 'incident' is handled quietly, and Simon will continue to be a sad outsider. A strong, well-written tale about the tragedy of being different. Highly recommended.
Age: 10+
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