Synopses & Reviews
A companion novel to Priscilla Cumming's highly acclaimed The Red Kayak and The Journey Back
Thirteen-year-old Kate Tyler must ask herself how far she will go to protect her older brother, J.T., when he returns home after nearly a year in a juvenile detention facility, only to find himself ostracized and bullied as he attempts to make a fresh start. Kate compromises her own values and risks getting herself into serious trouble as she launches a secret campaign to protect her brother long enough for him to find his place in the family and in the world again.
As a follow-up to Red Kayak, Cheating for the Chicken Man brings J.T., Kate, and Brady Parks together again as they struggle with the complicated issues of fairness, friendship, and forgiveness.
Praise for Bystander:
“Preller has perfectly nailed the middle school milieu, and his characters are well developed with authentic voices. The novel has a parablelike quality, steeped in a moral lesson, yet not ploddingly didactic. The action moves quickly, keeping readers engaged. The ending is realistic: theres no strong resolution, no punishment or forgiveness. Focusing on the large majority of young people who stand by mutely and therefore complicitly, this must-read book is a great discussion starter that pairs well with a Holocaust unit.” —School Library Journal, Starred Review
“Bullying is a topic that never lacks for interest, and here Preller concentrates on the kids who try to ignore or accommodate a bully to keep themselves safe. For Eric to do the right thing is neither easy nor what he first wants to do, and the way he finds support among his classmates is shown in logical and believable small steps. Eminently discussable as a middle-school read-aloud, [with] appeal across gender lines.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Preller displays a keen awareness of the complicated and often-conflicting instincts to fit in, find friends, and do the right thing. Although there are no pat answers, the message (that a bystander is hardly better than an instigator) is clear, and Prellers well-shaped characters, strong writing, and realistic treatment of middle-school life deliver it cleanly.”—Booklist
“Plenty of kids will see themselves in these pages, making for painful, if important, reading.”—Publishers Weekly
“An easy pick for middle school classroom and school libraries, this book is a worthy addition to collections focused on bullying and larger public libraries, especially those with an active younger teen population.”—VOYAPraise for James Preller and Six Innings:
“If Judy Blume could write a book about Little League, about its players' deepest fears and secret dreams, it might come out something like this.” -Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Dishing up a rare example of a character-driven tale that is also suspenseful and exciting, [Preller]chronicles a magnificent championship game between two Little League teams that is as much about the players as the plays.”—Booklist, starred review
"Following the play-by-play builds suspense and brings the reader right into the action and the special world of baseball and the people who love it."—Kirkus Reviews
"A tale of baseball, friendship, growth, and coming to terms with hardships, this fast read will grasp any reader who enjoys sports." —School Library Journal
"This is a book whose emotional pull creeps up on you, pitch by pitch….Like the boys on the field and in the press box, readers will feel this is a game to remember."—Shelf Awareness
Praise for Priscilla Cummings' The Red Kayak
and The Journey Back
A Bank Street College “Best Childrens Books of the Year for 2013”
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults 2006
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, 2005
VOYAs Review Editors Choice List, 2005
Eric is the new kid in seventh grade. Griffin wants to be his friend. When youre new in town, its hard to know who to hang out with—and who to avoid. Griffin seems cool, confident, and popular.
But something isnt right about Griffin. He always seems to be in the middle of bad things. And if Griffin doesn't like you, youd better watch your back. There might be a target on it.
As Eric gets drawn deeper into Griffins dark world, he begins to see the truth about Griffin: Hes a liar, a bully, a thief. Eric wants to break away, do the right thing. But in one shocking moment, he goes from being a bystander . . . to the bullys next victim.
A seventh grade boy must choose between being a witness to bullying—or becoming a victim.
About the Author
James Preller is the author of the popular Jigsaw Jones mystery books, which have sold more than 10 million copies since 1998. He is also the author of Six Innings, an ALA Notable Book, and Mighty Casey, his own twist on the classic poem, “Casey at the Bat.” In addition to writing full-time, Preller plays in a mens hardball league and coaches Little League. He compares coaching kids to “trying to hold the attention of a herd of earthworms.” He lives in Delmar, New York, with his wife, three children, cats and dog.