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The Revealers

The Revealers

3.8 21
by Doug Wilhelm

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Throwing light on a dark problem

Parkland Middle School is a place the students call Darkland, because no one in it does much to stop the daily harassment of kids by other kids. Three bullied seventh graders use their smarts to get the better of their tormentors by starting an unofficial e-mail forum at school in which they publicize


Throwing light on a dark problem

Parkland Middle School is a place the students call Darkland, because no one in it does much to stop the daily harassment of kids by other kids. Three bullied seventh graders use their smarts to get the better of their tormentors by starting an unofficial e-mail forum at school in which they publicize their experiences. Unexpectedly, lots of other kids come forward to confess their similar troubles, and it becomes clear that the problem at their school is bigger than anyone knew. The school principal wants to clamp down on the operation, which she does when the trio, in their zealousness for revenge, libel a fellow student in what turns out to have been a setup. Now a new plan of attack is needed . . .

This suspenseful story of computer-era underground rebellion offers fresh perspectives on some of the most enduring themes in fiction for young readers.

The Revealers is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"The promise of the modern age is that information equals power, and in this entertaining and thoughtful tale, that notion is put to the test," according to PW. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
At the start of seventh grade, Russell's reality has changed. Suddenly he does not fit in, his friends are gone, and he is tormented repeatedly by the biggest bully at Parkland Middle School. Unsure of how to save himself, he seeks advice from Elliot Gekewicz, the kid that everyone picks on. The boys meet Catalina, a new girl who is being harassed by the cool girl clique. The three outcasts band together to create The Revealer, an e-mail newsletter that publishes bully encounters to the student body using the school's local area network (LAN). When Russell makes the most popular girl in school angry, she tricks him into publishing a false story. This action results in the principal prohibiting student access to the LAN. Predictably, when the revealers are at their lowest, they submit the winning entry in the Creative Science Fair, attracting the attention of the school board chair and regaining access to the LAN for the students. Teasing and bullying are pervasive problems in any middle school, but this book lacks a realistic feel. The characters are two-dimensional and do not speak like seventh graders. Also, it is unclear why the adults in the book do not take more action when youth are being slugged in the face and dropped off bridges. Although the use of the Internet to improve student life is an interesting concept, overall the book fails to engage the reader. VOYA CODES: 2Q 2P M (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Farrar Straus Giroux, 224p., $16. Ages 11 to 14.
—Heather Acerro
Children's Literature
What happens if you are prey and continually stalked from the moment you leave school until you arrive home? Every waking moment you live in fear and continually plan survival strategies? When Russell starts 7th grade he becomes Richie's target and he doesn't know why. He decides to ask the two kids, Elliot and Catalina, who are lowest on the pecking order, the ones who are always being teased and picked on. While sticking together like a herd of plant-eating dinosaurs, they research better ways to handle bullies. Eliot decides to fight back with his tormentors, but ends up in the hospital. Catalina tells her story via email to every 7th grader and girls start noticing her and want to be her friend. On a special network set up for students, the threesome decides to reveal what is happening to other students who have been bullied. Bringing situations out in the open causes many students to help the underdog and reduce bullying. But one day, one of the bullies writes an anonymous letter accusing herself of plagiarism. When it is published in School-net, she shows her lawyer father who convinces the principal to put a stop to the student's network. Even though bullying had decreased significantly, the principal closes down access. Eliot, Catalina, and Russell find another way, however, to prove their results and bring about change. These three are not alone. Bullying is a real problem in many schools and this book could bring about more awareness. 2003, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Ages 10 to 14.
—Janet L. Rose
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Braiding a different twist on the old story of getting back at the school bullies, Wilhelm has created three characters with qualities that make them targets, but also make them capable of combining efforts and mounting a terrific, innovative defense. Russell, the narrator, finds himself mysteriously ignored by all except Richie, a bully with possibilities. Flummoxed, the seventh grader calls the school computer nerd for advice. Elliot is tiny, "obsessed with dinosaurs," and has a last name, Gekewicz, that ensures his social ostracism. Rounding out the trio is Catalina, who has just moved to town from the Philippines. When she shares her life story with her new buddies, they distribute it on the school's intranet, and thus is born The Revealer, an e-mail forum in which students can relate their backgrounds and interests, and experiences of abuse by other kids. The "silent majority" is riveted and repelled, and suddenly the school's culture takes a turn for the better. Briskly plotted, the novel shows how bringing the stories to light transforms stereotypes into real people and provides a vehicle for others to become involved. While depth of character development and setting may have been sacrificed for plotting, the novel is effective and will fascinate even reluctant readers.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A thought-provoking experiment about bullying and how to handle it. Seventh-grader Russell suddenly and inexplicably becomes the target of another boy's fists, so Russell asks Elliot-not a friend, but the school's general punching bag-for advice. Elliot distracts himself in a world of dinosaurs, but soon the boys become friends with Catalina (another tormented seventh-grader) and the three create an online forum called Revealer, where students tell their own stories of bullying and being bullied. Seeds of understanding sprout around the school as more and more stories come out. A late, well-crafted triumph of the aggressors almost crushes hope, but once again, going public proves invaluable. It's unclear why certain mean characters seem less bad by the end, and the parental passivity is sometimes hard to believe; however, Wilhelm poses intriguing questions about the role computer networks can play in rebellions, kids' lives, and possibly grander politics as well. (Fiction. 10-13)
From the Publisher

“Braiding a different twist on the old story of getting back at the school bullies, Wilhelm has created three characters with qualities that make them targets, but also make them capable of combining efforts and mounting a terrific, innovative defense . . . Will fascinate even reluctant readers.” —School Library Journal

“[Wilhelm] shines a harsh light on many facets of bullying and never, even at the novel's rosiest moments, implies that every bully is a good kid just waiting to be redeemed. Middle-schoolers will appreciate the honesty.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“The promise of the modern age is that information equals power, and in Wilhelm's entertaining and thoughtful tale, that notion is put to the test.” —Publishers Weekly

“Books like this make [readers] feel less alone.” —Booklist

“Using humor along with realistic examples, Wilhelm draws the reader into the world of middle school turmoil. An excellent book.” —SIGNAL

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.62(w) x 8.66(h) x 0.97(d)
580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Revealers


When I was in seventh grade I did not understand the things that came out of my mouth. Of course I'm a year older now, and a lot happened last year—and that's what this story is about—but sometimes I think back and I just cringe.

I wanted people to say, "Hey, Russell! Sit with us!" But I'd open my mouth and what would come out would be loud and clanky and wrong. And they would give me that quick, flat, puzzled stare that is the stock weapon of the cool seventh grader and seems to ask, "What species are you, exactly?" And I would go away thinking I was hopeless. I just wished that once I could say the right thing—but next chance I had with somebody important my words would pop out clanky and loud and I would want to run my head into a wall. I'd wonder, What happened to me?

Basically, when seventh grade started I found out I was out. It was like everyone else took a secret summer course in how to act, what to say, and what groups to be in, and I never found out about it. Maybe they didn't tell me on purpose. Maybe they thought it'd be fun to see how out of it I could get. See how you could start to think? But the truth is,nobody thought about me much at all back then. I wasn't the type anybody paid attention to—not before all this started happening.

So I would go home from school by myself. I was riding my bike the particular day when this thing occurred that pretty much captures what I'm talking about: my having had this talent, just then in my life, for saying an incredibly wrong thing to exactly the person I should never, ever have said it to.


I was taking my time, that afternoon. I had nowhere special to go. My mom doesn't get home till about five-thirty, later if she has to go to the store. And I liked to dawdle along. I mean, after a whole day of being herded—having to go here, sit there, and rush with the crowds to the next class before the bell rings and you're late again—why not take your own time when you can? That's what I did, as soon as I could get away from school.

Our school is called Parkland Middle School, and it's on the corner of School and Union streets. You can look up Union and see the downtown stores. But school lets out on School Street, around the corner, where everyone crowds out the big side doors and the buses pull up, and the parents' cars wait behind the buses in a long line.

If you're going downtown after school, or if you need to go through town to get home like I do, most people head up Union. But I usually left the crowds (where nobody was waiting for me anyway) and went up a shady side lane called Chamber Street. I'd tell myself I liked going my own way. I mean, everybody else in seventh grade had to go everywhere with their friends—they'd walk in their little cliques through the halls, they'd eat together in the cafeteria, and they'd head home (or wherever they went) together after school.But why attach yourself to the same people every day, with everybody gabbling like a bunch of baby ducks? I didn't mind going by myself, really. Not that much.

Chamber Street leads to the police department. It's a faded brick building, and behind it is the old town parking lot, and across that is the back of Convenience Farms.

Convenience Farms isn't a farm, of course—it's a squat white store with a red plastic roof. It's easily the ugliest building in our downtown, and it has all kinds of good junky food inside. I coasted my bike in from the parking lot and leaned it against the side of the building, and went in to get my root beer.

That's what I always got after school back then, a root beer. My mom gave me $1.10 each morning so I could get one. "There's for your treat," she'd say. (I don't have a dad. He died when I was too young to know. I wouldn't mind having a dad, but I don't.)

I always got a twenty-ounce A&W, in the plastic bottle with the white cap. (I've tried them all. It's the root beeri-east!) When I came out of the store with my bottle this eighth grader, Richie Tucker, was leaning against the side of the building, and my bike was lying sprawled on the pavement.

Richie Tucker. Whoa. Now he was someone you stayed away from. If you were going somewhere and Richie Tucker was hanging around and he tried to catch your eye, you just didn't look at him. Even I knew that.

But here—I suddenly realized—here was one person who didn't have to be in a group with anybody. Probably nobody was cool enough, or strange or scary enough, to hang around with Richie Tucker anyway.

So I looked at him. He had on this black army jacket, with his hands shoved in the big side pockets. I was thinkingmaybe I could get a jacket like that, I was wondering where you could buy one, when Richie turned his head and looked at me.

"Is that thing yours?" he asked softly, motioning his head toward the sprawled bike.

"Well, yeah."

"It was in my way."


"That piece of crap you left there." Richie said this softly and earnestly, nodding at me like we were two very concerned citizens. "It was in my way." He put his hands on his hips. "What are you going to do about it? Hmm?"

So I bent over, picked up my bike, and—okay, this was a mistake—shook my finger at it.

"Bad bike," I said. "Bad bike! Don't ever do that again?"

See what I mean? Was that stupid?

Richie jerked forward like he was coming at me; I hopped on the bike and started pedaling. I nearly dropped the root beer as I rode, a little too fast, up Union Street to get home.


But then for the next couple of days I kept thinking about that black jacket. I wanted to get one. I looked in the Yellow Pages and found an army-navy store, about half an hour away. I could ask my mom to take me, maybe on Saturday. I could tell her I needed it.

Meanwhile, I guess Richie was watching how I went home.

Two days after the incident at Convenience Farms, I was walking home after school. Just this side of the police station there's a narrow, bumpy little driveway. It connects to the parking lot behind the police building, but it isn't the main way into the lot, and hardly anyone uses it. It's shadowed by a line of trees on one side and a windowless brick wall of thepolice building on the other. I was halfway up the driveway when Richie stepped out from the trees.

He moved to block my way, and smiled. A prickling crackled in the back of my neck. I saw his fist pull back and I wanted to say No, please! I didn't mean to, but I just watched his fist drive into my stomach.

I couldn't breathe! I made this panicky hreek! hreek! sound, trying to get air. I crumpled up and my heart was pounding and I was shaking all over. Richie grabbed my chin and yanked my face up.

"Nobody mocks me," he said. "You understand? Nobody!"

I went, "Hreek."

Richie stood up and crossed his arms.

"I guess you are nobody," he said. "I guess that's you, huh?"

One tear tipped and fell down my face. Richie's eyes lit up, and he leaned in really close.

"Aw—you got to cry, little boy? Are you a little crying nobody?" I turned my face away. He grabbed it and yanked it back.

"Let me tell you how it is, little boy. This is not over, okay? This is never over. Every time you turn around—every time you think the coast is clear—you better be watching for me. Okay, little boy? Because you're mine now. You are mine. And every time you think you're not ..."

He jerked his fist back; I grabbed my stomach. Just like that.

He stood up. "Yeah," he said, and smiled. "Just like that."

And then he was gone.

THE REVEALERS. Copyright © 2003 by Doug Wilhelm.

Meet the Author

Doug Wilhelm has written several books for young readers. He lives in Rutland, Vermont.

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Revealers 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently read The Revealers by Doug Wilhelm. I would give this book five stars because it tells you what really happens when teachers are not looking and behind their back. I strongly recommend this book to everyone. The book is about three very bright students that have been bullied inside and outside of there school. The students are finally tired of being the bully's prey so they try to make a difference about bulling in their school. All ages should read this book because it tells what happens inside and outside of the school when the teachers are not looking. This book also shows that if you believe in something strong enough, that you should go for what you believe in and that is the message of this book. This book ends with the three students making a difference with the bullies at their school.This is an important book, because it shows you that having self confidence is a good quality to have in life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book showed me how any one person can make a difference just by putting their mind to it.I loved this book very much and thought it to be well written and very much enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Revealers by Doug Wilhelm is about a school where bullying is an everyday part of life, until three victims of the cruel bullying step forward to stop the bullying by writing an underground newspaper call the Revealer. These ordinary children become the heroes of the school and try everything in there power to stop the bullying. The bullies aren¿t very thrilled with the idea that their awful deeds are being brought out of the dark for everyone to see. When they decide to strike back no one at least not the three ¿ Revealers¿ can expect what is coming there way. This novel is aimed towards the teenage generation from 13-16 who understand the power a bully can hold over you. A problem can¿t be changed unless the world acknowledges it and wants to change. If dangerously realistic fiction with a hint of excitement is what you fancy this novel is exactly what you need.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for any child that has any bullying issues. By the time you are done reading this book you may have found a new voice inside of you, that you didn't have before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well I believe that The Revealers, is more than a novel that deals with this age-old problem! Clearly, yes, these three 'revealers' have some trouble with bullying and whatnot. But, I also believe that Wilhelm was trying to express how strong the struggle is to survive. And how painful, yet rewarding, doing something to satisfy yourself is! I believe each character of the book potrays a different idea in one's mind. Rusell is the part of us that belives that we can't do anything! Eliot is the part in us that will never give up! And Catalina is the concious that supports yourself to keep on going! Thats what I believe!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel like this book can teach kids the bad things about bullying. It is sucha serious book but it is such a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this over the summer for school work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is about a dude who gets bullied by this tough guy and wants to find out why people bully so much and whats so fun about it.i ONLY RECOMMEND this book because its not one of those book that gets so addicting like twilight or harry potter, anyway its a fun book and very intresting.
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I have to read this book for summer reading and it is the most boaring book ive ever read, i mean serously a kig is dropped off a bridge... come on!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Characters that middle schoolers could relate too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SandyKat More than 1 year ago
This book was REALLY boring, and just plain bad. The only reason I read it was because my whole school had to. A lot of people are saying that kids could relate to this, but that isn't true. Kids these days in middle school are losing their virginity, getting high, and stealing stuff, not wasting their time bullying some random kid for no reason, or writing and online newspaper. Plus, if this were to happen, the school wouldn't just turn the other cheek. That's practically child abuse. This book is extremely unrealistic, and not good. Don't read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
kids get bullied because the bully thinks that they are cool