Bullies aren’t born mean—through the vicious cycle of mean, bullies are made.
According to the Ambassadors 4 Kids Club, one out of every four students is bullied—and 85% of these situations never receive intervention. Parents, students, and teachers have amped up solving the bullying problem for a networked generation of kids.
Written by bestselling author Nancy Rue, each book in the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy focuses on a different character’s point of view: the bully, the victim, and the bystander. The books show solid biblical solutions to the bullying problem set in a story for tween girls.
Sorry I’m Not Sorry tells the story of Kylie Steppe, former queen bee of Gold Country Middle School. After bullying a fellow GCMS student, Kylie has been expelled—and she has to attend mandatory counseling. Without her posse to aid her and other peers to torment, Kylie focuses on the person who stole her GVMS popularity crown: Tori Taylor. As Kylie plots revenge on Tori, she attends therapy sessions, where she reveals a few details that might explain why she finds power in preying on her middle school peers. After a rough year with bullying backfire, will Kylie decide to become more empathetic with her peers?
It's hard for tweens to imagine why a bully acts the way she does. Sorry I’m Not Sorry shows girls that they hold the power to stop bullying through mutual understanding and acts of love.
Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.375
About the Author
Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband, Jim, have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.
Read an Excerpt
Sorry I'm Not Sorry
Mean Girl Makeover Book 3
By NANCY RUE
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Nancy Rue
All rights reserved.
The story I'm about to tell you is totally true, and it started the summer the G.G.s—the Goody-Goodies—took everything away from me.
I didn't think they could do that. I didn't think anybody could. So when my mom and my dad and I walked up the steps of Gold Country Middle School that morning in June, I wasn't even nervous. Some twelve-year-old girls would've been munching on their fingernails or making breakfast out of the ends of their hair, but not me.
My just-trimmed-yesterday bob was swinging in the Grass Valley breeze.
My armpits under my pink-striped tee were powder dry.
And my mind was so calm I was practically asleep.
The only irritableness was coming from my father. He took off his sunglasses and looked down at my mom and said, "I told the woman there was no need for a face-to-face meeting."
The "woman" he was talking about was the principal, Mrs. Yeats. I called her the Chin Freak. Not to her face, of course. Even I couldn't get away with that.
Mom tossed her straight dark hair-like mine only longer—out of her face and waited for Dad to open one of the doors while she thumbed her cell phone. "It's either this or Kylie doesn't get back in, so humor her."
Dad said something about that not being our only option. He was always talking about options and other boring lawyer things, but in this case, I was okay with it because it probably meant he was going to fix what he called This Situation before Mrs. Yeats could wiggle her chins too many times.
I switched to noticing how weird it was to be at Gold Country Middle when there was no school going on. No Patrick and Andrew and Douglas hanging out on the steps, making comments that sounded rude but really just meant they liked me. Especially Douglas. No signs on the door announcing all the stuff that made school worth coming to. Like dances and cheerleading tryouts.
The strangest part? My posse wasn't standing as usual by the trophy case across from the office waiting for me to start the day. Riannon. Heidi. Izzy.
Actually, Riannon and Heidi were there, but it wasn't "as usual." Their parents were there too. It didn't get much more bizarre than that. Both of their moms were talking with their hands flapping all around and their gel nails reflecting off the glass on the case, and the dads had their arms folded across their stiff white shirts and foreheads scrunched practically down to their noses.
As for Riannon and Heidi, although they were flattened against the glass like they were trying to become part of it, when they saw me, their faces sprang into action and we had one of those conversations only best friends can have—the kind where you don't actually say a word.
Heidi's hazel eyes bugged, sort of like a pug dog. Translation: This isn't turning out the way we planned.
Riannon darted her green ones to her mother, whose voice was now sounding like Minnie Mouse's, and zippered her finger across her lips. Translation: I can't talk in front of her.
I rolled my eyes and held up both of my thumbs and twitched them. Translation: Text me.
"Not going to happen, Kylie," Minnie—uh, Riannon's momsaid. She curled her long fingers around Riannon's bare arm and peeled her away from the trophy case. "Riannon won't be texting you. E-mailing you. Or calling you. We're done."
She gave a nod like a punctuation mark and dragged Riannon to the door where her dad was already waiting. Somehow Heidi had also been hauled away, and when the big door shut, all the air was sucked out of the hallway.
I recovered fast, though. My parents had already disappeared inside the office, which gave me a minute to laugh. Was Riannon's mom a crazy person? Of course Riannon was going to find a way to text me, even if she had to wait until her mom got over herself and forgot about it. Which she always did.
All our moms did.
Mine poked her head out of the office door then and said, "Hello? Let's get this over with."
That was the thing that made my mom different from Riannon's and Heidi's: she never sounded like Minnie or any other mouse. She was more like a mama panther.
So I sailed past the secretary's empty desk and followed Mom into Mrs. Yeats' office. The last time I stood before the Chin Freak, I'd pretty much had a screaming meltdown. This time, though, I was ready for her. I was going to be totally cool because, like my mom said, we were just there to humor her. I could do humorous. I could do cooperative. I could do irresistible.
I could do anything.
Until I saw who else was in Mrs. Yeats' office, sitting in front of her desk like they were members of the faculty. It was two of the three people I most wished would break out in acne.
One was Ginger Hollingberry, better known to my posse and me as "Gingerbread"—and not in a good way. She was the freckly, red-haired annoyance of a person who started the whole hot mess to begin with.
The other was the Dwarf. Lydia Somebody. She was a weirdly short woman with too much hair who thought she could come in and stop it all.
I froze in the doorway, not because of Gingerbread and the Dwarf, but because I hadn't heard that tiny voice in a long time. It was a wee thing inside my head that nobody knew about but me. Now was not the time for it to be whispering and definitely not the time for me to start listening to it.
"Kylie," Mrs. Yeats said. "Come join us."
All of her chins were wiggling, so at least I had something else to think about as I plopped down in a chair next to my mom. The first time we met with the principal, Mom wondered on the way home why the woman didn't have plastic surgery.
"Mr. Steppe?" Mrs. Yeats said as she motioned Dad toward the last empty seat.
"I'm fine back here." Dad sounded like we were about to watch a movie or something. I couldn't see him, but I could hear the bright smile in his voice. Dad's teeth were always as white as Tic Tacs.
Mrs. Yeats folded her hands at her thick waist. Just like every other day she wore a gold vest with all these buttons and pins on it that said stuff like, Go Miners! and Miners Make Good Citizens and a new one, Bullying Is Everybody's Problem. Lydia must have given her that one.
"It's my job to determine," Mrs. Yeats was saying as she nodded her head of gray hair that looked like a space helmet, "whether to recommend that Kylie be readmitted to Gold Country Middle for the next school year."
"And you've decided?" Dad said.
"I have not. Certain criteria will have to be met before I can make that determination." Mrs. Yeats looked at me with eyes that were probably meant to make me break out in hives, which I didn't. "You know what criteria are, Kylie?"
Did she think I was an idiot? I was in honors classes.
"The things you're going to make me do," I said. I tried to smile like Dad.
What? I always aced vocabulary.
"I'm not going to make you do anything. This is going to be your choice, and I want it to be a genuine one."
She waited like she expected me to say something. Maybe that was the first "criteria." So I said in my I-am-cooperative voice, "What do you want me to choose to do?"
Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw Lydia pass her hand over her mouth, like she was wiping off a smile. I didn't turn my head, though. I really didn't like to look at her.
"The first one may be the hardest," Mrs. Yeats said. "I want to see you apologize to Ginger."
My mom's face came up from her phone. "For?"
Mrs. Yeats answered like I was the one who asked. "For all the things you've done to make Ginger's time here miserable. Do you want me to list them?"
I had to work really hard not to roll my eyes, which my mom had told me on the way over I better not do. But really? I'd heard "the list" so many times I could recite it like the Pledge of Allegiance.
Still, I was kind of knocked sideways. If somebody had told me I was going to have to make an apology, I would have rehearsed it. Good thing this was Gingerbread we were talking about. She was so easy to mess with.
I got up and went to Ginger and leaned against the front of Mrs. Yeats' desk. Ginger looked up at me, and I realized how blue her eyes were. I'd never noticed that before. The one time she had actually looked at me long enough I was too mad to notice that she even had eyes.
But now I talked right into them.
"Aw, Ginger," I said. "I'm sorry things got blown out of proportion." I tilted my head so my hair splashed against the side of my face. "At first we were just playing around, and then everybody took it so seriously and—" I sighed like my mom did when she didn't want to keep explaining why I couldn't wear high heels yet. "I'm just really sorry it ended up like this. Are we okay?"
I expected her to jump up and try to hug me and say, "I'm sorry too!" Even though I was glad she didn't, I was surprised. She didn't even answer my question. She just looked at me with her really blue eyes until I had to fight not to be the first one to look away.
"Ginger," Mrs. Yeats said, massaging the chins. "Are you satisfied with that apology?"
She sounded like she didn't see how anybody could be, but Ginger nodded.
"You believe it was genuine?" Mrs. Yeats said.
"I don't mean to be critical," Dad said, "but I think you might be leading the witness a little bit."
That was probably lawyer talk too. Maybe I needed to learn some of that.
Before Mrs. Yeats could say anything, Ginger nodded again and said, "I believe she believes everything she said."
While I was trying to untangle that, Mrs. Yeats told Ginger she could go, which she did without even glancing my way.
Mom dropped her phone into her purse. "Kylie apologized. The girl accepted. Are we good?" "'I'm sorry' doesn't solve the problem."
I jerked without meaning to. I guess I'd just forgotten how ... different Lydia's voice was. It was almost the way people sound when they breathe in balloon gas. It was weird how people could think she was so wise or whatever when she talked like that, but everybody else seemed to.
Lydia looked at me. Her eyes were dark and snappy, and she had stared into me with them before. I didn't like it then either.
"You don't really take any responsibility for what happened to Ginger that night, do you?" she said.
"I have to intervene here," Dad said.
I was still leaning against Mrs. Yeats' desk, so I could see him going into what my sister called Counselor for the Defense mode. I didn't much care for it when he went there with me, but I was digging it at the moment. This was what was supposed to happen.
"Just to be clear," Dad said, still flashing his teeth, "Kylie didn't do any physical harm to—what's our girl's name?"
"'Our' girl's name is Ginger Hollingberry."' Lydia's balloon voice was calm. "And she sustained a broken rib, among other things."
"But Kylie wasn't there at the time. Isn't that correct?" Go get 'em, Dad.
But Mrs. Yeats put up her hand. The chins were now very still. "We've been through all of this before, people. Let's move forward."
Dad spread out both hands. "Let's do."
"Based on that apology, I am not inclined to recommend that Kylie be reinstated as a student here."
But if I'd had time to rehearse—
"However, there are additional criteria, and after those are met, perhaps we can revisit this."
There you go. I would have time to practice a better "apology." And if that was the hardest part, like she said, how bad could the rest of it be?
"Before you go any further," Dad said, "because I don't want you to go to a lot of trouble over something that may turn out to be a moot point ..."
I had no idea what that was, but I was sure I was going to like it.
"I should tell you," Dad went on, "that we're looking into private school for Kylie for next year."
"And how's that working out for you, Mr. Steppe?"
I flash-froze again, just like I had in the doorway. Only this time it was all because of the wee voice that said ...
This is so humiliating, I wish I could evaporate.
Dad had already tried to get me into private schools. Three of them. And they all said I had the grades and test scores, but they wouldn't take me because of my conduct record. The record that was perfect until Tori and Ginger and the rest of the G.G.s.
"What are these 'criteria' or whatever?" Mom drummed her fingers on her crossed arms. She wasn't as good at pretending to be patient as my dad.
"I have them written out for you." Mrs. Yeats picked up some papers from her desk behind us. "Kylie, if you'll have a seat, I'll go over them."
"Seriously? I think we can read this for ourselves—"
Mrs. Yeats clipped off Mom's words and sliced right on. There were moments when I would have enjoyed that. This wasn't one of them because as Mrs. Yeats went down the sheet, each "criteria" got more evil than the one before it.
Bad: I had to do 120 hours of community service to show that I could care about other people.
Worse: I had to work with a tutor to make up a project to pass social studies because Mr. Jett said my performance up until I was expelled didn't satisfy the requirement.
The worst thing ever: I had to work with Lydia Kiriakos on my "bullying behavior," and she was also the social studies tutor Mrs. Yeats had approved.
By that time, I almost didn't care whether I got back into her stupid school. Only one thing held me back from throwing a level-five tantrum.
"After I do all this," I said, "I'm reinstituted."
"I'll be back on the cheerleading squad too. That's true, right?"
The answer was the only thing worth holding my breath for, and I did. Mrs. Yeats waited so long to give it, I was ready to pass out.
"That will be up to Mrs. Bernstein," she said, just as I was turning blue. "She's the advisor, so it's her choice."
All the air I'd been holding drained out like I was the balloon full of helium. Mrs. Bernstein and I used to be almost like friends, if you could be friends with a teacher, but the G.G.s had even gotten to her, and I was pretty sure she didn't like me anymore.
I don't think anybody likes me anymore.
I launched away from Mrs. Yeats' desk and headed for the door, flinging words over my shoulder. "I'm going to the car."
Stay mad, I told myself as I dodged the desks in the office and made it to the hall. That was the only way—stay mad.
At Mr. Jett for failing me when I used to be his favorite student.
At Mrs. Bernstein for dropping me—and my posse—from the squad so I couldn't go to cheerleading camp, which I'd been living for the entire year.
At Mrs. Yeats and the Dwarf and all the other adults who decided that being popular meant you were a bully.
I stopped at the corner of the hallway and looked for something to smack or kick or tear down. I searched the wall, but it was poster-less. Except for one.
There it was. The perfect thing.
My eyes squinted down so far I could barely see it, really, but it was there. Big as a pep rally poster and full of sixth graders' signatures. Mine was on it but only because I didn't want to work with her—Lydia—and that's what happened when you wouldn't sign. A lot of good that did me.
I chewed on the inside of my cheek. I hated that poster, that Code. Not because of what it said. I didn't even know what it said, and I didn't care. All I knew was that because of it, Tori Taylor and her G.G.s had taken everything away from me. And she was the third person I wished would look in the mirror one morning and find out she had incurable acne.
I reached up to the top of the poster and pulled part of it away from the wall so I could get my fingers behind it. One yank and it would rip in half.
But just then my cell vibrated in my pocket. Probably Riannon. I could find out if they'd given her all those criteria thingies too, and we could make a plan to get rid of them. I let go of the poster and dug out my phone.
It wasn't Riannon texting me. It was Izzy, who right now would be like a mosquito buzzing around my head. I poised my thumbs to start a message to Ri, and suddenly other thumbs were grabbing my phone from me.
"Sorry, princess," he said, stuffing it into his pants pocket. "No phone and no Internet for a while."
I changed tactics. "Mo-om!"
"Don't look at me," she said and teetered on her heels as she followed Dad toward the door.
"I don't get it!"
They didn't stop walking away from me even after we got out of the front door and the sun hit us square in the face. Mom just pulled her sunglasses from the top of her head and stayed on Dad's trail to our white SUV parked at the curb by a sign marked Buses Only.
Dad opened the back door and tapped my nose with his finger like he always did when he was trying to make me do something. "I want you to stay out of trouble until I can get you into the Roseville School."
"You already talked to the people at Roseville," Mom said.
"I'm not done with them," Dad said. To me, he said, "I don't agree with this whole thing, princess, but you're going to have to work with it for now."
He shook his head and I climbed into the backseat, but as soon as he got behind the wheel again, I started back in.
"This is so unfair. It wasn't all my fault."
"Other people don't see it that way. You're going to have to play the game for a while."
"I don't want to play the game."
Mom's hair flipped toward me, and when her face caught up, it was sharp and shut-up pointy. "Do you want to be a cheerleader or not?"
I shut up.
Excerpted from Sorry I'm Not Sorry by NANCY RUE. Copyright © 2015 Nancy Rue. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sorry I’m Not Sorry by Nancy N. Rue is the third book in the “Mean Girl Makeover” series, which is published by Thomas Nelson. This fictional series is written for tween girls in grades 4-7. I enjoyed this book because it shows a unique perspective on bullying, and a good way to stop it. It is in the Mean Girl Makeover series, a series from three different sides of bullying; the bully, the bystander, and the victim. I appreciated the author’s creativity to write a novel from each of these different standpoints, and combining them into a series where all the characters are connected; but each with their own different stories. I also liked being able to get into the bully’s mind and step into her shoes. Another thing I liked about this book is the moral: bullies are made through people being mean to them and it is a vicious cycle that is rarely stopped, but it is possible to stop. In this case, Kylie Steppe is the bully and she has just been found out-and expelled. In addition, she is forced to attend mandatory counseling and therapy sessions. On top of all that, she discovers her ex-posse has turned on her and spreading rumors and blackmail all over social media. Eventually, she opens to her counselor and becomes friends with the very people she used to bully, defying the odds and joining the good side in an effort to stop bullying. Thank you to Thomas Nelson publishers and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
All tweens - and their parents - should read this! This book tells the story of Kylie Steppe who used to be the leader of the ‘popular’ girls at Gold Country Middle School. She was a bully who encouraged others to bully students who didn’t fit into her clique but now they’ve gone too far, been named and shamed and she’s in danger of being expelled from the school. To avoid this, Kylie has to attend mandatory counselling with Lydia and complete tasks, including working as a teaching assistant at a summer camp for less fortunate, younger children. Kylie initially is resistant to all these measures but, without her posse to support her, counselling that makes her reevaluate her attitude and gives her goals, can she turn her life around? This is brilliantly told from Kylie’s point of view. Through the story it is slowly revealed why she has acted in this manner and the blame isn’t all on her. It also includes others who bully, including Kylie’s mother and one of the students at the camp and examples of cyber bullying. If only every child could have a Lydia in their life to help support and guide them, the world would be a better place for everyone! Really impressed with this and would recommend all tweens read it - it doesn’t excuse bullying but does helps develop understanding of why bullies behave as they do. I understand there are two other books in the series sharing the story from the points of view of the victim and a bystander but haven’t read either. If they are as engaging as this one, the set should be mandatory texts for pupils in this age group! Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.