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The Bully Book: A Novel

The Bully Book: A Novel

4.4 70
by Eric Kahn Gale

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What is The Bully Book? Part mystery, part tragedy, part comedy. Originally self-published as an ebook by a member of Team Starkid, The Bully Book is now available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions. The paperback includes a Q&A with the author.

Eric Haskins, the new sixth-grade bully target, is searching for answers. And unlike


What is The Bully Book? Part mystery, part tragedy, part comedy. Originally self-published as an ebook by a member of Team Starkid, The Bully Book is now available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions. The paperback includes a Q&A with the author.

Eric Haskins, the new sixth-grade bully target, is searching for answers. And unlike many of us who experienced something awful growing up, he finds them. Though they may not be what he expected.

When the author was eleven, he was bullied. This book is loosely based on incidents that happened to him in sixth grade.

The Bully Book is a Top Ten Indie Next List pick of 2013, and Publishers Weekly called The Bully Book a "gripping debut novel."

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Previously published as an ebook, this is a chillingly realistic portrayal of bullying. Sixth-grader Eric Haskins, formerly normal to the outside world, has been chosen to be this year's "Grunt"-the target of an all-encompassing bullying scheme. When all of his friends turn against him, he discovers the root of his problems, The Bully Book, and methodically attempts to locate its origin and author, and find out why he has been targeted. Realizing that the practice goes beyond the misery of his sixth-grade year to past victims, he is determined to stop it from claiming future students. Alternately told through Eric's journal entries and The Bully Book's cruel directives ("You've got to ruin the Grunt's friendships…You need to start fights between the grunt and his friends. Spread rumors that will cause trouble"), the story is fast paced, with strong character voice in the writing. Readers will experience the depressive reality of a bullied child as they try to solve the mystery along with Eric. Those who have been victims will root for him as he tries to make sense of the warfare waged against him, while others may recognize tendencies in themselves that should be altered. Great for discussion.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Publishers Weekly
This gripping debut novel, previously published by the author as an e-book, explores school bullying and power dynamics from perspectives at both the top and the bottom of the classroom social order. Excerpts from “the Bully Book” address readers directly, explaining how to rise to a position of power (“You need to pick lieutenants, loyal friends who can help you carry out instructions”) at the expense of the “Grunt,” a student singled out for abuse. Sixth-grader Eric Haskins writes intervening journal entries that detail his growing awareness that he has become his grade’s targeted Grunt. Using the Bully Book’s guidance, three boys mount a step-by-step campaign of psychological warfare against Eric, sabotaging his few friendships, turning classmates against him, and collapsing his self-esteem. Yet an inner resilience emerges as Eric tries to unravel the origins of the Book, a layered and attention-grabbing mystery. Gale’s accounts of bullying are subtle and chilling, but readers will finish the book believing that the humiliations Eric suffers can be conquered. Ages 8–12. Agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.)
VOYA - Barbara Johnston
Eric was a pretty normal kid going into sixth grade, but things turned ugly very quickly. With the exception of Melody and Colin, the whole class began to pick on Eric. When Colin's older brother mentions "The Book" and how a "grunt" is selected each year, Eric concludes that he has been chosen. Following various clues, he eventually locates the manual. He discovers that the book has been handed down from class to class and dates back many years. The "grunt" is always a kid like Eric who is average and passively accepts the label bestowed upon him. Eric takes steps to counteract the book's poison by rotating its pages with his own painful journal entries. Passing down this revised Bully Book will expose this hurtful tradition and, hopefully, lessen its power. With the voice of the book's original writer juxtaposed with Eric's, this novel grabs the reader at page one. Interspersed humor (bloody boogers and body fluids) lightens the serious tone and the mystery about the manual's author continues almost to the end. Calling upon his own unhappy experiences, the author demonstrates how easily bully Jason "Crazypants" and his lieutenants implement the book's toxic plan for classroom dominance; however, the novel's message about the importance of self-awareness and other tools needed to lessen the impact of bullying is equally forceful. Although it targets the middle school set, this novel will furnish teachers, parents, and teens with ammunition to combat this cruel conundrum. Reviewer: Barbara Johnston
Kirkus Reviews
A meticulous anatomy of a bullying victim. Determinedly normal Eric Haskins is dumbfounded when his best friend, just back from camp, joins with a couple of other boys to call him "Grunt" at the beginning of sixth grade. Pretty soon, Eric is the class pariah; even decent and stalwart Melody turns away. A couple of chance remarks convince Eric that he's just the latest in a long line of sixth-grade Grunts and that the bullies are actually working from a manual. Readers know that Eric's right, because interspersed with his journal entries chronicling his miserable year are excerpts from the titular Bully Book, which advises, "You have to create yourself. And to keep yourself safe, you have to create other people too, like the Grunt." Eric's quest to uncover the Bully Book is genuinely suspenseful. The juxtaposition of Eric's journal against the Bully Book allows readers to see both the bullies' methodology and Eric's unwitting complicity. Gale gutsily portrays a gloves-off sixth-grade classroom in which variations of "gay" are flung around as insults (a usage that Eric articulately and bravely challenges). While it's hard to imagine even the numbest substitute teacher routinely allowing a vocabulary lesson to become a bullying opportunity ("Eric Haskins is generally stupid"), the other adults in Eric's life are convincingly ineffectual or self-deluded. A compelling and unusual look at a complex and intractable problem that succeeds admirably as story as well. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
HL620L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years


Meet the Author

Eric Kahn Gale is the author of The Bully Book, his first novel. He lives in Chicago.

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Bully Book 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
i_nom_spam More than 1 year ago
As a forewarning to those of us reading this book thinking "YAY MORE STARKID STUFF!!" you are mistaken. Don't read it with Starkid in mind. Read it because it's just plain awesome. I'm sure we all remember what it was like in 5th grade. Some of us were bullied. Some were bullies. Some were bystanders who merely looked on, while others were mocking the bullied ones along with the bullies. We all remember that one kid who was always the target of bullying. The one who was ugly, stupid, boring, and easy to make fun of, according to the bullies. Eric Gale. A normal kid. Nothing special or extraordinary. All it took was the first day of 5th grade to know what a hell it was going to be. Suddenly targeted as the "Grunt," he is mocked and bullied by three main bullies, one of which was his former best friend, and soon they have the whole class playing the game of "make the Grunt's life living hell." Eric wants to get to the bottom of this, and wants it to stop. He will go to any length to stop this madness, and when he figures it out, he's going to make them pay. Not only is our protagonist an extremely likeable, sympathetic character, but his writing style and way of leaving you with cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter (well, journal) is amazing and extremely well done. Along with the bits and pieces of the actual "Bully Book" scattered between the journal entries, this book is such a page-turner there is no way you can put it down until you are done with it. Read and Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing story. It has .nothing to do with starkid if thats what looking for but it is still amazing.
songbird2332 More than 1 year ago
This is a very cute book:) I'd definitely recommend it to anyone in grade school, but for those Totally Awesome Starkids out there, just be warned that it has NOTHING to do with Starkid or Starkid productions except for the fact that Matt and Nick Lang illustrated it. It is still a very good book...just not what I was expecting.
addictedtowriting36 More than 1 year ago
So, right off the bat, you can assume it's good. I mean, come on. Eric, Nick and Matt we all know are TOTALLY AWESOME. It's Starkid Potter. You just KNOW it's gonna be good. Just maybe we can get Julia's book on here...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book i ever read
Rachel Greenwald More than 1 year ago
OMGOMGOMG!!!!! finally this got on nook!!! I highly reccomend it to EVERYONE!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic, and from a wonderful author. I think those bullies feel pretty dumb now. This book will change your life, and everyone needs to read it. Bystander, bully, or grunt, it speaks to all of us. I literally want to use all my character to express to you how much I love this book. It is definitely in my top four of all time. I feel like it would have changed the way I was in grade school, but now it will change the way I look at the whole entire world. I am so grateful for Eric to be brave enough to share his experiences with us readers. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK! Do yourself a favor. Eric's background with Starkid also doesn't hurt the credibility of this book and how excellent it is. This is not just a story, it is someone's life, and it will influence yours. It has the power to eradicate bullying, and I want everyone to experience the joy it gave me. Truly genius.  
SeeChristine More than 1 year ago
This book was, needless to say, TOTALLY AWESOME! But, if you're expecting a book about Starkids or a sequel to Little White Lie, you're looking in the wrong place. Go read Julia Albain's book if you want it to be about Starkids. And if you just want to read all the Starkid books,Lauren Lopez has a cookbook out called, These Treats Don't Suck. But, this book is still wonderful, Starkid or not and I suggest you to read it
Isabella Harman More than 1 year ago
I got the free sample but its not letting me open it! If your going to buy it then i suggest you get the whole book not the free sample
Anonymous 6 months ago
For those who are curious about who StarKid is- StarKid is a group of people who got their start with "A Very Potter Musical," a musical parody of the Harry Potter series, that went viral on Youtube. Since then, they have gained more and more popularity with their new(er) shows- the sequels to "A Very Potter Musical," "Firebringer," "Starship," "Holy Musical B@man," "Twisted," "ANI," "The Trail to Oregon," and web series "Little White Lie." You might not have heard of them since they're not that mainstream, but I suggest you check them out.<p>Also, everyone- do stand up to bullies. I was bullied back in sixth grade and I can't handle it when I see or hear that others are being bullied... stand up.
Beth_Rodgers_Author More than 1 year ago
In 'The Bully Book,' Eric Kahn Gale has perfectly captured the angst of a kid who just wants to be accepted but doesn't quite know how to go about making that happen. Main character Eric Haskins has started his sixth grade year as “The Grunt” – a title he did not ask for and does not fully understand. What he does know, however, is that there are other students, known as Bully Bookers, who have a “Bully Book” teaching them how to label him as someone at the bottom of the barrel while they rise to the occasion, claiming all the popularity and instilling fear in people like Eric who just want to be left alone. Since isolating the Grunt from the rest of the general school population is one of the missions of the Bully Bookers, they do just that by keeping Eric away from his good friend, Melody. Even his old friend Donovan is now hanging out with the mean kids, mostly in what seems his attempt to maintain a semblance of popularity after having lost some weight and being accepted by people he thought he'd never be hanging out with like Jason and Adrian, true Bully Bookers who know how to keep people down while building themselves up. Through a series of investigations that Eric embarks on alone, as well as with the help of others who have been down the “Grunt” path before, readers learn quite a bit about Eric's plan of action. This includes how he plans to get himself out of the mess, along with some haunting realizations about where the Bully Book started, how it was put into action, and who it has affected over the years besides just himself and the few people he's met along the way. Quick, extremely engaging, and on point regarding how the bullying epidemic is still prevalent today, after having been around for more years than most would care to admit, Eric Kahn Gale has only cracked the surface of what kids can do to realize their worth. However, a start is a start, and if more books could be written and spread around elementary and middle schools (and even high schools and beyond!) like this one, maybe bullying would begin to diminish, even if only to a degree to start. He has started readers on the right path, and students, educators, and parents alike would be wise to read this novel and share its morals with all who will listen. Beth Rodgers, Author of 'Freshman Fourteen,' A Young Adult Novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I sometimes think I do to!At home or at scool.I useally think no one likes me but thats not ture!!!Find a good friend and you stand up to that bully toggether!!!-Sammyrainbow120
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And you should be to. Hi my name is Bridgit Mendler from Disney Channel and im here to tell you that when school gets back in i want you all to stand up for all those people who are getting bullied. Tell a teacher, or parent. It's the only way to really stop bullying. Once again this is Bridgit Mendler hoping to see you on Disney Channel; against bullying! Bye!!! ;D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The bully book was a great book. Eric dud a great job and I hope writes many more like this one. I recomend this book for people 9 to 99!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tlhlilsl lblololkl lwlalsl lrlelalllllyl lglololdl.l l
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It wiil help pepole not buuly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it all day. It is full of misheve and adventure. I recommend it for all kids!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just took a test today now in class bord
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