Synopses & Reviews
Susan Calloway, bullied and overweight, faces daily humiliation at the hands of her classmates?and she?s had enough. With her anger about to reach the boiling point, Susan lands in an alternative education class, a sort of group therapy for the nearly expelled. School is bad enough, but facing off with five peers, including her cruelest tormentor, is worse. Now Susan is being forced to do something she?s always avoided?talk about herself and listen to what other people have to say about her. She has two choices: find her voice, or be prepared to take the insults in silence. It won?t be easy, but alt ed may be just the last resort Susan needs.
?Carefully nuanced connections between characters plus insight into the adolescent ability to use low self-esteem as a cruel weapon catapults Atkins?s novel of troubled teens well above the familiarity of its trappings. Each of Atkins?s characters emerges, fully formed from these pages.?
?Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Carefully nuanced connections between characters plus insight into the adolescent ability to use low self-esteem as a cruel weapon catapults Atkins's novel of troubled teens well above the familiarity of its trappings. Each of Atkins's characters emerges, fully formed from these pages."—Publishers Weekly
In order to avoid expulsion after committing various offenses, six very different high school students are required to meet with the school counselor, in a group, every Wednesday afternoon for a semester. Susan Callaway, whose weight has kept her a shy, lonely outcast, narrates the story. Only Brendan, a gay classmate in the group, knows what landed her there. Susan is more than the sweet girl everyone thinks she is. She's had to cope with a lot more than anyone realizes. When the crank calls start--a male voice asking her to go out on a date--she's sure the calls were made by one of the guys in the group. But why is her brother never home when the calls come? In her second novel, Atkins paints a gripping portrait of an overweight girl coming to terms with her father's estrangement, her brother's hostility, and the slow torture she's received at the hands of her classmates. Catherine Atkins lives in Sonora, California, near San Francisco.
Alt Ed centers on a teen who receives phone calls harassing her about being overweight.
About the Author
Catherine Atkins is a teacher as well as a writer. She has taught in alternative education programs for the past ten years, working with students of all ages, from elementary level to adults. Most of her teaching experience, however, has been with teenagers. "I enjoy working with teens," Atkins says. "They have it all: the curiosity and vulnerability of children, the blossoming intelligence and awareness of their age, and surprising empathy and maturity, sometimes when you least expect it." She especially enjoys helping students improve their writing skills. "I have given my 'How to write a five-paragraph essay' lesson to many teens over the years, and it's always a joy to watch their faces when they realize they CAN do it, they can write an essay, when they never believed they could before." Catherine's background includes stints as a news reporter and talk-show host. She loves animals, art, and theater. At the age of four, she appeared in a nationally broadcast Pepsi commercial.
copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.