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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 128
Themes: bullying, self-confidence, violence, responsibility
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/10/2012
Fry Reading Level: 3.8
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Colin is tired of school bullies and other students' refusal to speak up or "rat" on the real troublemakers. When Colin does speak out against a couple of school thugs, they post an embarrassing photo of him on a social networking website. Colin makes some new enemies in the process but also a few new allies, including the VP, Mr. Miller. One of Colin's new unwanted allies, though, is Jerome, who is selling weapons to kids at school for "self defense." Colin threatens to turn Jerome in but backs off, tired of his growing reputation as the school rat.

When Jerome is shot and killed, Colin regrets not speaking up earlier. Jerome's killer is now known but has not been located by the police. When the police show up, Colin tells them what he knows, and while he realizes that he has some enemies, he also has some real admirers as well.

Library Media Connection - May 1, 2013
"Colin is a believable character who isn't perfect but is brave enough to stand up for victims...Reluctant readers will enjoy this fast read which has a controlled vocabulary, and is about situations students see in their own lives."
TriState YA Book Review Committee - January 1, 2013
"Choyce's gritty urban realism will appeal to many teen readers, particularly reluctant readers. The plot is active with contemporary dialogue and vocabulary, and addresses timely issues of concern to young adults."
NJ Youth Services - December 5, 2012
"This book for reluctant readers provides a realistic portrayal of timely topics including cyberbullying, sexual harassment, and school violence."
Resource Links - December 1, 2012
"An engaging and truthful no-holds-barred novel. It is well worth reading."
CM Magazine - October 17, 2012
"The plot is fast-paced and appropriate for teens while the language is kept clear and straightforward for teens reading below grade level...The very current issue of cyber-bullying is something that all teens will be able to understand...Rat puts forth a powerful argument for speaking up that will resonate with the reader."
Booklist Online - September 30, 2012
"The hard-hitting, reluctant reader–friendly titles in the Orca Soundings series can boast another standout in this tale of a teen experiencing the downside of being a Good Samaritan...This is strong material about cyberbullying, standing up for what's right, and breaking the senseless cycle of silence."

Awards

TriState YA Review Group Book of Note  | 2013 | Commended

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