Bully.com

( 2 )

Overview

Seventh grader Jun Li is a brilliant student, more comfortable around computers than people. But his world turns upside down when the principal accuses him of a cyberbullying incident. To prove his innocence, Jun has seven days to track down the true culprit.

Jun's investigation will bring him face-to-face with computer hackers, a jealous boyfriend, and more than one student who has been a victim of bullying. But he discovers along the way that everyone's story is more ...

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Overview

Seventh grader Jun Li is a brilliant student, more comfortable around computers than people. But his world turns upside down when the principal accuses him of a cyberbullying incident. To prove his innocence, Jun has seven days to track down the true culprit.

Jun's investigation will bring him face-to-face with computer hackers, a jealous boyfriend, and more than one student who has been a victim of bullying. But he discovers along the way that everyone's story is more complicated than it seems -- and that the people he meets might have more in common than they think.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
New York Journal of Books
"[B]ully.com is full of suspense with a surprise ending skillfully written to keep readers hanging on every word."
Read the full review at http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/review/bullycom.
VOYA - Alicia Abdul
Jun is an academic overachiever and overall good kid, so it shocks him to learn that he is suspected of cyberbullying at his middle school. The principal is accusing him of posting inappropriate pictures of a fellow classmate's bulimia online. With the help of his best friend, they become investigators out to prove Jun's innocence in seven days or else more than just Jun's name is on the line, but his acceptance into a prestigious academy too. This means he must sneak around, lie to his parents, interview classmates and staff, and ultimately question the victim, a queen bee who, to some, got what she deserved. In the age of technology and social media, this book is a useful educational tool and knowing that Lawlor is himself a middle school teacher, the message is honest. The diverse duo of Jun, of Japanese and Chinese decent, and Chris, his loudmouthed, basketball-loving female sidekick, support a meaningful dialogue about first impressions, names, and reputations. Alongside the characters is the authentic middle school landscape, which covers the cafeteria and library, guidance counselors and principals. With an ending that seems to set Jun up as a serial crime-solver, using his computer skills and intelligence, the book illuminates bullying, in-person and online, and the social hierarchy that amplifies it. Certainly, this is a book for literature circles addressing bullying or light mystery readers. Reviewer: Alicia Abdul
Children's Literature - Sandra Eichelberger
Jun is a seventh grader who wants to be the best student and so he never gets in trouble. At least, he never did, until one day when he is accused of posting malicious pictures about a girl in school. Threatened with expulsion, this straight-A student makes a deal with the principal to find out who really posted the images. Helping Jun is his best friend Chris, a tall girl who's a basketball player. The two are a contrast in looks and personality. While Jun is tiny and unimposing, Chris is tall and assertive. Together they follow clues to determine the real culprit. Lawlor writes about a serious problem in today's schools. Bullying is a growing issue and the consequences can be devastating. Here the main focus is not on the victim as much as on the accused. In the search for the truth, Jun learns that those who bully may have their own issues. He discovers that things are not simply black and white and he will use his superior intelligence to guide him in finding the true culprit. This book is fast-paced and suspenseful. Jun is in danger and threatened at every turn. His friendship with Chris is strong and saves him on many occasions. The pervasiveness of the bullying is frightening students may relate to the harm it causes. This is a good book for middle school students. Reviewer: Sandra Eichelberger
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—In this mash-up of mystery and realistic fiction, a popular girl who has cyberbullied other kids gets cyberbullied herself and quiet, overachieving Jun Li is framed for the crime. The principal gives him one week to find the real culprit or be expelled. With the help of his friend Chris, the seventh grader must come out of his shell and talk to kids, parents, and teachers to clear his name. The middle school kids are nicely defined; the banter between Jun and Chris is realistic, and their fledgling romance is sweet. Adult characters feel less original. Too many implausible events undermine the mystery: the book is more successful as an anti-cyberbullying tale. Through talking to all the students involved in the bullying, Jun gains insight into their actions and helps readers understand why kids behave the way they do, even when they're behaving badly. Jun's parents read his email and monitor his online activities in a subplot that could spark a discussion of kid privacy vs. parent responsibility. Order where there is a need for bullying fiction.—M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
Kirkus Reviews
After being falsely accused of cyberbullying, a seventh-grade computer whiz must find the culprit. Jun Li is short, smart and socially invisible. He believes in keeping his head down. He has one friend, his neighbor Chris Pine, a basketball player and the tallest girl in the class. He attracts attention when images of an eighth-grade classmate, a popular, model-pretty but tough and powerful girl named Kimmie Cole, are posted on the school's website trumpeting the information that she's bulimic. Since the pictures were sent from a library workstation and PC-savvy Jun was on the computer near the time of posting, he's now under suspicion. In a setup that's hard to buy but works anyway, Principal Hastings gives Jun one week to clear his name and find the real wrongdoer--or face expulsion. Aided by Chris, Jun begins to interview students and teachers. Suddenly, Jun is speaking to lots of people, and much to his surprise, he enjoys making social connections. The puzzle's solution is well-plotted, and author Lawlor concludes it with the classic gathering of suspects for the big reveal. Secondary characters, unfortunately, are mostly mouthpieces with traits rather than flesh-and-blood individuals. Despite the tepid characterizations and some stiff dialogue, a clever mystery. And the tag, in which Jun and Chris take on another case, signals more fun to come. (Mystery. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802854131
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 208,201
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Lawlor (www.joelawlorbooks.com) is a middle school English teacher. Bully.com is his debut novel. Joe lives in Massachusetts.
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Customer Reviews

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( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    This book is a perfect example of a novel written by someone who

    This book is a perfect example of a novel written by someone who doesn't understand the age group they are writing about. The characters
    are not original and the dialogue and thought process of Jun is more immature than that of a seventh grade boy, and not easy for middle 
    school readers to connect to. The setup and problem of the book itself are unrealistic, and the writing is neither good or clever;  what
     the author portrays as difficult words and concepts could be understood by a third grader, and yet it deals with issues such as bulimia and 
    uses some minor swear words. In all, I found it to not be worth the trouble of reading, and would urge you to pick up a more
     realistic and better written mystery and save yourself the annoyance of reading a something dull and out of touch.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 18, 2013

    A clever mystery! While cyberbullying is at the heart of this my

    A clever mystery! While cyberbullying is at the heart of this mystery, this is not a preachy book. The cyberbullying issue is fully nuanced, balanced with well-placed humor. The seventh-grade sleuth, Jun, is intelligent but flawed. The mystery offers plenty of suspects, but it takes Jun's sharp eye and whirring mind to put all the clues together. The middle school setting is incredibly realistic and recognizable. I can't wait to booktalk this with my students!

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