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Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

4.0 1
by Rhoda Belleza (Editor)

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It does not necessarily take a fist to create a punch in the gut. This fourteen-story YA fiction anthology delves into the experience of being bullied—socially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and sexually. The school hallways, walks home, and house walls are no longer the boundaries for intimidation and harassment. With the rapid-fire response time


It does not necessarily take a fist to create a punch in the gut. This fourteen-story YA fiction anthology delves into the experience of being bullied—socially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and sexually. The school hallways, walks home, and house walls are no longer the boundaries for intimidation and harassment. With the rapid-fire response time of social media and smartphones, bullying has lost all limits, and the lines among truth, lies, and real accountability have become blurred.

Featuring some of the hottest voices in YA literature, both bestselling and on the rise, Cornered includes works from Kirsten Miller (New York Times bestseller The Eternal Ones), Jennifer Brown (Hate List), Elizabeth Miles (Fury), Jaime Adoff (The Death of Jayson Porter), Lish McBride (Morris Award finalist Hold Me Closer, Necromancer), Matthue Roth (Losers), Sheba Karim (Skunk Girl), Kate Ellison (Butterfly Clues), Zeta Elliot (A Wish After Midnight), Josh Berk (The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin), and James Lecesne (Absolute Brightness and founder of the Trevor Project).

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Bookshelf: What We’re Reading
"This is an excellent book for teens…This would make an excellent choice for sparking off discussions on this very difficult topic….Worthwhile, but difficult."

Seventeen’s book club
"You'll love it if... you're looking for a summer read that's moving and inspirational.Cornered will give you the courage to face-off the bullies at your own school, and help victims get help."

"Helpful for teachers, guidance counselors, and teens trying to stop bullying, yet engaging for readers simply browsing this important topic."

Seventeen Book Club
“You'll love it if...you're looking for a summer read that's moving and inspirational.Cornered will give you the courage to face-off the bullies at your own school, and help victims get help.”

Lambda Literary.org
“The authors in Cornered use their stories to take us inside the minds and skins of those who are being bullied, and the bullies themselves, to show readers just how wrong thinking teen-aged harassment is “not that bad” can be… an intensely personal and unsettling look at the problem, and will hopefully move them to do more than just say, “It Gets Better,” and join in the battle against it.”

VOYA - Sean Rapacki
Bullying and being bullied are nearly universal teen experiences, and this collection of short stories manages to cover many facets of how these experiences shape us as human beings. There are several top-shelf YA authors included, like Jaime Adoff, Jennifer Brown, and David Yoo, and their contributions here rank up there with their best work. The only misstep in the collection is a tale by Zetta Elliott that deals with two teens from extremely different backgrounds who find common ground because they are both being sexually exploited by adults. While the story itself is worthwhile, it seems a stretch to fit within the theme of bullying. The rest of the stories, however, not only focus on bullying, but deal with the subject bravely and without resorting to easy answers. It is no exaggeration to say this collection is filled with a lot of pain, but there has always been a steady audience for tragic realistic fiction. What is surprising is the amount of hope and humor conveyed in many of the stories. Short story collections generally do not rack up huge circulation numbers in most libraries, particularly among teens, but this combination of trusted authors and bold tales definitely deserves a chance to beat the odds. Reviewer: Sean Rapacki
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Taken as a whole, this collection of stories, most by authors with other young adult writing to their credit (e.g., Jaime Adoff, Josh Berk, James Lecesne) is distressing and depressing. Bullying continues to be a significant and disturbing issue for all ages, and there is certainly fodder here for useful discussions between teens and their parents, teachers, or counselors. However, stories should be selected carefully and followed up with discussion rather than simply giving this book to someone who is being bullied. Rachel Simmons' Odd Girl Out offers constructive suggestions for responding to bullying and would make a useful adjunct for anyone intending to use these stories in a teaching or therapeutic setting. A common element of these stories is the degree to which adults are complicit by ignoring evidence of bullying. So if anyone is going to sit down and read this book cover to cover, it should be adults, not teens. These stories portray bullying by both males and females, based on whatever the bullies want to base it on—the victim is small and weak, or fat, or nerdy or socially awkward, the victim is new to the school, or interested sexually in those of the same sex, or feels their gender is wrong. By and large the results are devastating. Victims of bullying die by their own hand or at the hands of others; if they survive, they often become bullies themselves. With a couple of exceptions, these are not stories of revenge or redemption, rather the outcome is most commonly terrible emotional and/or physical damage. Some stories of revenge (e.g., "Defense Mechanisms" and "We Should Get Jerseys...") use magic to solve the problem. Others publicize the bully's behavior (e.g., "Nemesis" and "How auto-tune saved my life") as a way to stop or at least mitigate the behavior. Stories of redemption vary from the believable ("The Shift Sticks") to the surreal ("Inside the Inside"). The remainder involve common girl bullying behaviors like gossiping and rumor mongering which sometimes escalate to violence, while the boy bullying follows a typical pattern of intimidation and physical force—often very brutal. The "Foreword" by Chris Crutcher and the "Resources" section listed in the table of contents were not included in this pre-publication copy.
Kirkus Reviews
This bully-themed anthology stands out in both the breadth of its scope and its tolerance for moral ambiguity. A distinguished and ethnically diverse set of authors contribute to this volume, which focuses not only on teens who are targets of bullying, but also those who perpetrate it--and many, realistically, do both. Bullying takes many forms, including a teacher ridiculing students, a viral racist email and hazing on a soccer team. The contributors largely delve into bullies' behavior without resting on cliché: David Yoo's unnamed protagonist targets another teen in part because he himself has been bullied, but readers also see the specific incidents and pressures that make his actions, though unforgiveable, more understandable. Most contributors also wisely observe that family dynamics can have as much impact as those at school: James Lecesne's suicidal teen protagonist is called "lezzie" by a classmate, but her mother also snips at her, "Would it kill you to wear a skirt every once in a while?" Overall, however, the book's handling of homophobic bullying is mixed; it is believable that Elizabeth Miles' straight narrator is humiliated by malicious rumors that she is a lesbian, but one wishes the story indicated that being LGBTQ need not be shameful. For the most part, a diverse, robust collection that looks unflinchingly at cruelty. (Anthology. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Fifteen authors write about teen bullying and empowerment. Media specialists and librarians may need to hand sell this worthy collection since the word "bullying" in the title might repel teens with its connotations of after-school specials and adult lectures. However, they will not regret taking the chance on these stories that range from the supernatural to racial self-loathing. The collection opens with Kirsten Miller's "Nemesis," in which a superhero student from New York City apprehends villains at the anonymous request of bullied teens. Josh Berk's "The Shift Sticks" concerns a bullied female rock singer, and Elizabeth Miles's "Defense Mechanisms" is about a high school junior discovering her true identity. Mystery and horror fans will be interested in the creepy "Inside the Inside," with its decidedly Margo Lanagan-type world. Readers will cheer with Michael in Brendan Halpin's "How Auto-Tune Saved My Life," cry with Chloe in Jennifer Brown's "But Not Forgotten," and recoil with repulsion and sadness in David Yoo's "Everyone's Nice." Unlike other collections in which story quality can vary widely, the readability and interest level are consistent, making this collection a solid recommendation to teens and a definite gateway title to promoting the short-story genre.Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD

Product Details

Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
7 - 18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Rhoda Belleza is a freelance writer and editor who has worked with Paper Lantern Lit. She has been published on TheRumpus.net and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
This is a great collection of stories. Stories that are raw, dealing with bullying every, single day. And stories where people have had enough and are finally standing up for themselves. Let me begin by saying that I had a love/hate thing with this book. One minutes I'd be angry or sad due to an bullying story and when I got in to the defiance story I was all like," HELL YEAH!" LOL! This is a great book filled with awesome stories to give you that emotional roller coaster. Even though the stories were short, you were able to get each character, watch them stand up and face their bully and of course others, taking it every day. My fave defiance story is Nemsis which is the first story and well its about defiance. I really love the chance at getting revenge for bullying. If you want stories that really make you see things differently, check this book out. It awesome and powerful. Each story different from the next, you are never left bored. Cornered is a great anthology that gets down to the heart of the matter.