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When fourteen-year-old Elliot Sutton arrives at HolminsterHigh, he's determined not to stand out. He simply can't let himself become a target again—not like he was at his last school. This time, he's a new Elliot. Tough. Impenetrable. But then he meets the Guardians, a group of upperclassmen that secretly rule Holminster with a quiet and anonymous terror. Obsessed with George Orwell's book 1984, they desire power for the sake of power—and they always get what they want. Now, they want Elliot. Not to terrorize . ....
When fourteen-year-old Elliot Sutton arrives at HolminsterHigh, he's determined not to stand out. He simply can't let himself become a target again—not like he was at his last school. This time, he's a new Elliot. Tough. Impenetrable. But then he meets the Guardians, a group of upperclassmen that secretly rule Holminster with a quiet and anonymous terror. Obsessed with George Orwell's book 1984, they desire power for the sake of power—and they always get what they want. Now, they want Elliot. Not to terrorize . . . but to join them. Can Elliot face his new future, or will he become his own worst nightmare?
Elliot, a victim of bullying, invents a calmer, cooler self when he changes schools in the middle of freshman year, but soon attracts the wrong kind of attention from the Guardians who "maintain order" at the new school.
Oliver had gone out without so much as a word to Elliot. Elliot trotted into the cold sunlight, his chest tight, his heart already thumping uncomfortably. This was where all the acting skill he could muster could let him down in an instant.
But in the end, surprisingly, it wasn't too bad. He ran around enough to convince both Mr. Phillips and the other players that he was a decent enough player and eager to get the ball -- even though he was tackled three seconds after he caught it for the first and last time.
Someone else wasn't so lucky: a gangly kid with angry red spots on his forehead and a raw-looking nose. Every other pass seemed to be directed at him. If he caught the ball, he was instantly tackled, crushed into the ground again and again, until even his face was brown. A couple of times Elliot saw a sly hand press his head down into the mud. When he didn't catch the ball -- which was usually -- he got the resentful stares of the rest of his team.
When they eventually walked off the field, Elliot's team had lost 28-14. He noticed the raw-nosed boy lagging behind.
In the locker room, Elliot quickly peeled off his muddy uniform and dived for the showers. He wanted to be in and out as quickly as possible. The more serious players on his team looked angry at their defeat, and he had no wish to be a potential target for their frustration.
He let the hot water power the dirt and sweat away. "Good game," said someone next to him. He vaguely recognized him from the morning's English class.
"Yeah." Elliot injected false enthusiasm into his voice.
Suddenly the end of the showers was blocked. He recognized his team captain, Stewart Masters, a big, burly center-forward who played aggressively, knocking challengers aside with casual flicks of his arm. He was still wearing his gym uniform, and glaring.
Please don't look at me, Elliot prayed. He tilted his head back to let the water flood onto his face, trying to look unconcerned. His skin felt cold, although the water was uncomfortably hot, filling the narrow space with clouds of steam.
When he next looked, Stewart had gone.
Thank you, God. Elliot stepped out into the main changing area and began toweling himself off.
"Here he is. I've got the little wimp."
The locker room went silent.
Elliot froze. But the attention wasn't directed at him. In the far corner of the room, Stewart Masters had ahold of the raw-nosed kid, his hand twisted in the boy's hair.
Everyone else in the room was still as a statue. The air was still with expectation, a stillness that somehow emptied it of smell -- of bodies, sweat, damp uniforms, of sound -- of the showers, breathing, of anything that might distract attention from whatever was about to happen.
Stewart spoke quietly into the stillness. "Baker, you're a snot rag. What are you?"
"A snot rag." The voice was flat and dead.
"Louder, Baker. I want the whole locker room to hear you."
"I'm a snot rag."
"And you stink, don't you, because you never take a bath. Don't you?"
"I -- I stink because I never take a bath."
"You're disgusting, Baker. I'm polluting myself by touching you."
"Did I ask you to speak, you little maggot? You filth stain. Did I?"
Stewart let go of the boy's hair. The tension in the room remained. Everyone knew there was more to come. Elliot held his towel, covering himself; the air suddenly felt cold; there were goose bumps all over him.
Stewart continued. "You're filthy, Baker. Get your clothes off and take a shower."
Slowly the boy undressed, carefully placing his clothes on the wooden bench behind him. His skin had an unhealthy, off-white appearance. He looked like a ghost, or a dead body animated by some supernatural force. Naked, he walked the length of the locker room and went into the showers.
Everything else was still.
Stewart scanned the room. "I want a volunteer. Quickly, before Phillips gets here." He pointed to Oliver. "You. You're volunteering to man the showers."
Clearly knowing what was expected, Oliver walked over to the tangle of pipes and wheels on the wall that controlled the flow and temperature of the water to the showers. He reached up and rapidly twisted one of the wheels clockwise.
"A nice cold shower, Baker, to clean the filth off you," Stewart said. He pointed to another two boys. "You and you -- clothing duty, now."
They too knew the drill: Baker's uniform followed him into the shower.
Elliot wondered how many times this had happened before -- to Baker or to anyone else. Something about the whole thing gave the impression of a routine perfected from long practice.
"What the hell's going on?"
In an instant the group unfroze into furious activity.
The gym teacher came into the locker room and went straight to the showers.
Elliot raced to pull on his boxer shorts and pants, his heart thudding.
What are you so concerned about? a little voice hissed in his head. You didn't do anything.
The gym teacher twisted one of the wheels on the wall, and the noise from the showers stopped.
"Come out of there."
Baker stepped into the locker room, his hands covering between his legs, his thin white frame shivering.
"Why aren't you getting dressed, Baker?" There was impatience in his voice.
The boy awkwardly half-turned back toward the showers.
"For crying out loud!" Mr. Phillips's gaze swept over the room. Elliot saw Stewart staring back: brazen, challenging. He remembered noticing Stewart's name in gold leaf on the football roll-of-honor board. He sensed the gym teacher weighing his options.
The teacher turned back to Baker. "Just get your clothes and get dressed. And hurry up." He turned to the others. "And the rest of you. You've got three minutes, or you'll all be taking cold showers."
Elliot finished putting on his tie, threw on his blazer, and got out before anyone could have a chance to speak to him.
Don't be noticed. But he knew it was only going to be a matter of time before he was. And then he'd be joining Baker underneath those showers. Nothing's going to be different here. Nothing.
I was stupid to imagine anything else.
Posted November 27, 2007
Inventing Elliot is a story about Elliot¿s life in and out of school. Elliot¿s father is a successful businessman who owns his own company. But one day, he gets beat up and robbed while walking to his car. The thieves took everything he owned and beat him almost to death. His neck was broken and he suffered from brain damage. Now he can barely eat his own food without help. His mother has to work much of the day and sometimes night shifts to keep the family out of poverty. They move to a new place to try and start a new life. In Elliot¿s old school, he was the victim of constant and brutal beatings from bullies. When he moved to his new school, he learned of an elite group of students called the Guardians. They work in secrecy and they choose people to bully. Of course, Elliot is afraid that these Guardians will get to him again, just like his last school. But, as Elliot finds out, things turn out exactly the other way. They want him to join the Guardians and become one of them. He has some tough choices to make ahead of him, and friends to lose and make. Overall, this story was excellent. The author, Graham Gardner, uses good word choice to describe the story. The whole book, from beginning to end, has the reader wanting more. Unfortunately, the reader doesn¿t get much more after getting to the end. The book seemed very short and it was a very fast read. The last few chapters seemed a little unnecessary, save for the last 5 pages or so of the book. If this book were longer by at least fifty pages, it would definitely deserve 10 out of 10. But this seemingly short book really gets an 8. It really feels that short that I would deduct two points from the rating. Still highly suggested, and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 25, 2006
Have you ever felt abused or harassed? Felt like you were all alone? Surrounded in a corner with nowhere to go? Even if you havenâ¿¿t, Inventing Elliot is an awesome read. Written by Graham Gardner, it is a very teen â¿¿ focused novel centered on a 14 year old boy named Elliot Sutton. He frequently suffers both physical and mental abuse from constant bullying at his high school. To make matters worse, his family has virtually fallen apart with financial woes, and resulting mental and physical strain. In addition, Elliotâ¿¿s father can no longer do things on his own as he was assaulted one night and left on the sidewalk bleeding to death. His once confident and cheerful father is now a liability for the once strong and proud Sutton family. When Elliotâ¿¿s mother receives government compensation from his fatherâ¿¿s brutal attack and mugging, she sees the money as a chance to start things over for the very financially and emotionally worn out family. They move to a new city, and Elliot is enrolled in Holminster High. He is determined to change his image as a scrawny, short, underdeveloped young teenager into a confident and happy looking young man. He changes his hairstyle and buys brand new clothes with the savings that he had received from delivering newspapers every morning. His first few weeks at Holminster High are uneventful, and he thinks his plan has succeeded because he didnâ¿¿t seem to be noticed that much by his peers. His situation improves once he earns a spot on the very exclusive swim team. Little does he know that he has been followed by a notorious undercover group called the Guardians ever since his arrival at Holminster High. After a few meetings, he becomes a part of the Guardians, albeit extremely reluctantly. He soon realizes how it feels to be one of the most powerful teenagers at school, with all the benefits and drawbacks. What he doesnâ¿¿t realize, however, is the horrible price that he will have to pay for this position of power. Inventing Elliot was a very interesting book to me because it painted in abundant colors how it feels to be abused by peers, having your family falling apart right in front of your eyes, and being short on money all at the same time. The novel also shows how Elliot befriends one of his best friends, Ben, just to keep his reputation. Graham Gardner really takes you to the heart of the story in this novel, making you feel like you are in the situation, almost like being blended and integrated into the setting of the story. The author also adds a few more twists to the story, such as when Elliot falls head over heels for a girl, but is very hesitant to tell her about the dark side of his life. Inventing Elliot was a very pleasing book to read. It is a very good alternative to other novels, which are cheerful and happy as it shows you how some people are abused and harassed in todayâ¿¿s world. The only drawback about this book is that it takes a very long time to get into the story, but it definetly is a book that I would recommend to another teenager looking for a book which is very out of the ordinary.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2004
Every young person want to fit in, to be accepted by his peers. When someone is not a part of the group his or her life can be fraught with misery. This is the situation 14-year-old Elliot Sutton finds himself in when he is the target of hurtful teasing by his classmates. However, there's hope as Elliot is going to a new school, Holminster High, and he is determined to be different, to change himself so that he won't be bullied again. To this end, he adopts a facade, a tough exterior, an emotional armor to protect himself. British actor Dominic Taylor presents a compelling reading as he segues from a cowed young man to a hardened teenager and, finally, to the voice of Elliot's conscience. You see, it seems that there is actually no escape for Elliot as Holminster High has its bullies, too. Only, they're a bit more evil than the ones Elliot has known before. This is a group called the Guardians, no one knows exactly who they are but everyone knows enough to fear them. They're upperclass students who rule for the sake of ruling, and, of all things, they want Elliot to join them. Can Elliot, a boy who was once a victim become a victimizer? It's often a struggle to grow, and this young man faces some difficult tests in order to do so.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 28, 2010
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Posted October 26, 2008
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Posted June 23, 2011
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