Bullying doesn’t end in the hallway anymore—with a smartphone or tablet, it can happen anywhere.
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 alike have amped up discussions on how to solve 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, based on Scripture, show solid biblical solutions to the bullying problem set in a story for tween girls.
You Can’t Sit With Us, the second book in the series, tells the story of Ginger Hollingberry, a new sixth grader at Gold Country Middle School. Ginger has been the brunt of teasing and taunting from the queen bee of GCMS, Kylie Steppe, and her so-called Wolf Pack. Kylie and the Pack favor a new and especially hurtful medium of taunting: social networking. What follows is a candid look into the growing world of cruel cyberbullying, showing kids that bullying doesn’t always end at school—it can now follow you even into your home and torture 24 hours a day.
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
You Can't Sit with Us
Mean Girl Makeover Book 2
By NANCY RUE
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2014 Nancy Rue
All rights reserved.
In one week, my whole life changed.
Okay, not my whole entire life. I still lived with my dad and my brother, I still didn't have a cell phone, and I still had red hair that started to look like shredded carrots if I didn't wash it, like, every ten minutes.
I guess I should say my school life changed. When you're twelve and in sixth grade, school practically is your life.
In the seven days before that Thursday, no one had told me I was annoying.
In those one hundred sixty-eight hours, nobody had stuck gum in my hair or laughed right in my face or whispered, "I hate Gingerbread," when they passed me in the hall.
In those ten thousand and eighty minutes, I'd gone to the restroom between classes and nobody had harassed me, and I didn't have to go there at lunchtime to eat my sandwich in a stall. I'd even gone to my locker and not freaked out because there might be moldy cookies in there.
For those I-don't-how-many seconds, I wasn't that Ginger girl everybody was mean to.
Now I wanted to yell, "Woo-hoo!" and grin all goofy all the time, but my brother, Jackson, would have said, "Do you have gas or what?"
So on Thursday, March 12, when Mrs. Zabriski announced that the health part of P.E. was over and we would now be working with her husband, Coach Zabriski, I was the first to go, "Woo-hoo!" Actually I was the only one to go, "Woo-hoo!" Which was strange because I wasn't the only one who considered Mrs. Z to be their most unfavorite teacher.
Our other five sixth-grade teachers upheld this Code we had signed, which said we had to "respect the dignity of every human being." But Mrs. Zabriski ... let's just say she let Kylie Steppe and her, um, mean-girl friends be just snarky enough to almost disrespect the dignity of every human being. Especially my friends and me. The Tribelet.
Like, just then, as we were all filing out of the health classroom, Kylie turned her head so her little splashy brown bob swung into her blue-with-gold-specks eyes. She brushed it away like she was all irritated with it and looked at Tori, the leader of our Tribelet—and my friend—and said, "Nice shirt."
That would have sounded like a compliment if Kylie's lip hadn't been curled all up to her nostrils like something smelled bad. Actually, something did because the BBAs (the boys who were always burping or belching or doing disgusting things with their armpits) were all around her, and the most disgusting thing about their armpits was the gross odor.
Anyway, Tori, who in my opinion had a way cuter bob than Kylie because it was chocolate brown and thick and she didn't use it like a weapon, just looked down at her Einstein hoodie sweatshirt and said, "Thanks. I like it."
Kylie nudged Riannon with her elbow, and Riannon's green eyes got all close together, and she said, "OBviously. You wear it practically every single day."
I could've pointed out that Riannon shouldn't talk because she wore those green contact lenses every day, and they looked totally fake. But saying stuff like that wasn't in the Code, and besides, I also felt like I tasted whatever they were smelling when I did.
The line going down the hall toward the outside door spread out, but of course the Tribelet stayed together: Tori, Ophelia, Mitch, Winnie, and me.
"I'm scared of Coach Zabriski," Winnie said.
I almost didn't hear her because everything about her was sort of feathery, including her almost white hair and her voice. I just knew she'd be saying it. She was pretty much scared of everything.
Ophelia, on the other hand (I liked thinking things like "on the other hand"), got into it when something scary was about to happen, although I still didn't get what was so bad about Coach Zabriski. When I moved to Grass Valley and started at Gold Country Middle School, we were already doing health with Mrs. Z, so I didn't know him.
"Do you think he'll make us run laps again?" Ophelia said as we passed through the double doors to the schoolyard. Her eyes got as big and round as two Oreos, and she pulled the pink tie thingy out of her braid. Butter-colored hair unraveled down her back.
"What did you do that for?" Mitch said. She never understood Ophelia and her hair. Mitch's own was brown and spiky and short, and she liked being called Mitch instead of Michelle. Mitch was tough, and she could be as prickly as her own hairdo. She once punched a kid in the face for calling her brother retarded, but she didn't do that kind of thing anymore—not since the Code—but nobody forgot that she could.
Anyway, back to Ophelia's hair, which the March wind picked up and swirled in the air as we headed for the fenced-in area where everybody else was going.
"I want it to look dramatic if we have to report him for student abuse," she said.
"Is she serious?" Mitch said to me.
"Oh, yeah," I said. I was sure my grin was goofy—I was glad my brother wasn't standing there—but I couldn't help it. Nobody ever used to ask my opinion about anything, so when they did now it was woo-hoo worthy.
"All right, people, let's move it!" a voice bellowed (that's the only word for it) from the other side of the fence.
It belonged to a short guy with that kind of hair that's cut flat on the top. I couldn't be sure, but it looked like he dyed what there was of it blond. I never knew guys did that.
Mitch grabbed my arm and broke into a stampede kind of run, but Coach yelled, "You know better than that, Iann."
"Wish he'd make up his mind," Mitch muttered to me.
"I know, right?" I said.
Mitch grunted. That was Mitch for "you're okay."
It was good to be okay.
Coach Zabriski (on the other hand) didn't seem to think that anybody was okay. He stood in front of this big wooden frame thing with thick, knotted ropes hanging down from it. The way he had his arms—which kind of reminded me of two big hams—folded across his chest and the way his whole forehead came down over his eyes like the hood on Tori's sweatshirt, I wondered if he was about to use those ropes to tie us up. Beside me, little Winnie whimpered. She did that a lot.
When our whole class was bunched up in front of him, Coach said, "I see we have some 'tudes in this group."
I raised my hand. He lifted his chin at me, which I guessed meant he was calling on me, so I said, "What's a 'tude?"
"'Tude is a name?" I said.
"Don't get smart with me," he said. I almost couldn't see his eyes now because his eyebrows were in the way. "Tell me your name or you're doing laps."
"Ginger Hollingberry," I said. Well, yelled. My brother also told me I sounded like a bullhorn when I got all worked up.
Coach lifted his chin again, this time at everybody. "Someone tell Hollingberry what a 'tude is."
"I will," Tori said, and turned to me while Kylie's friends groaned with their eyes. "It's short for 'attitude,' and it means when you, you know, pull an attitude."
"Oh," I said. "I don't have one."
Coach Zabriski glared me down until I was sure I was shrinking like Alice in Wonderland, and then he said, "I'm not wasting any more time on this. All right, people, listen up."
Great. I was a waste of time. I now knew what was so bad about Coach Zabriski.
It got worse. He went on and on (and did I mention on?) about the obstacle course behind him—bars and tunnels and ropes and things you had to jump over and, the worst part, a fake rock wall that reached almost as high as the school. If we were going to pass P.E., we had to be able to do it all, including climb to the top of that wall ... and down. I started hoping for some disease that would last until the grading period was over.
I looked at the Tribelet to see how they were taking this. Ophelia was rebraiding her hair, and I knew in about fifteen seconds, she'd be chewing on the end of it. Winnie was looking pale as a bowl of Cream of Wheat. Tori had her hands shoved into her sweatshirt pockets so that Einstein's face was all long and weird and you couldn't read E = mc2 anymore. Mitch was the only one who didn't act like we were about to be eaten by Orcs, but, then again, nothing scared Mitch. I decided to copy Tori and stuck my hands in my jeans pockets.
"You'll be in four teams," Coach went on some more, shouting like we were downtown instead of standing right in front of him. "Two boys' teams, two girls'."
"Thank you," Winnie whispered.
I nodded. Patrick and Douglas and Andrew (the BBAs) had all signed the Code, but it was hard for them to follow it since they were just naturally obnoxious. As in, probably born that way.
"Don't get your gym shorts in a wad, people," Coach said. "I've already picked the team captains." He glanced down at the clipboard Mrs. Zabriski handed him. "Patrick O'Conner, Fen Wiley, Kylie Steppe, and Tori Taylor."
I stifled a woo-hoo. Tori would pick me for her team. I'd lost count of how many times I hadn't been chosen in the twelve schools I'd been in since first grade. I could get dry mouth just thinking about it.
Coach separated the four team captains. Some people started waving their hands down in front of them at Tori or Kylie or one of the boys—especially the four soccer girls who were their own group, and Evelyn and Shelby, who didn't really have a group they hung out with. Shelby used to be one of "Those Girls," which is what I called Kylie and them in my head. Until a week ago, we referred to them as the Wolf Pack, but that didn't seem right after we came up with the Code.
Coach barked, "Relax!" As if that was gonna make anybody calm down. "The team captains aren't picking you. You're picking them."
We all just looked at him. I had to consciously close my mouth because it kind of fell open on its own when I was, like, flabbergasted.
"So, go!" he said.
We did. People ran and banged into each other and flattened themselves into lines behind the captains like we were trying to get on lifeboats or something.
I got right in back of Tori with the rest of the Tribelet. No big surprise there. But I did have to shut my mouth again when Evelyn and Shelby and Brittney and Josie and Quinby and Ciara all crowded in behind us. Tori had eleven people on her team.
Kylie? She had four, counting herself: Riannon, her first officer who passed down Kylie's commands; Heidi, who collected information for Kylie for her to use against people; and Izzy, who was the messenger. When you saw her coming your way, you knew it was bad news.
The boys were still shoving and pulling at each other as Coach Zabriski stomped over to the girls. I noticed his legs were short but beefy, like those diagrams of cuts of meat. His were big ol' roasts.
"All right, let's even this up!" he said.
I looked over at Kylie's puny line, and in my head, I whispered, Somebody please volunteer to go over there before he starts plucking us out. Memories of my first weeks at Gold Country attacked me, and I totally wanted to retreat to the bathroom. And maybe throw up.
"Iann," Coach said to Mitch, jabbing a stubby finger at her, "move to Steppe's line. And you two." He stabbed the finger at Brittney and Josie. "Go!"
Ophelia and Winnie both watched Mitch change teams like they were never going to see her again.
"It's okay," Tori whispered to us. "Mitch can handle it."
I felt a little better, but only because when Tori said something was going to work out, it usually did. She was all brainy and serious about science, but with anything that had to do with the Code, she was the strongest of us in being against bullying so we could maybe ... enjoy school. In the twelve I'd been to, this was the first one where I thought that could actually happen.
Kylie (on the other hand) did not look like she felt better. At all. While Coach was counting for about the third time, she swung that hairdo that seemed like it talked and she looked straight at Tori. Her eyes went down into such tight lines I could hardly see the color in them, and if her lip had folded up any farther, she would have sucked it up her nose when she breathed. That was Kylie body language for: I am not happy. And if I'm not happy, NOBODY is going to be happy.
"Threatening Looks" was Number Two on the Code of things we pledged not to do to each other. I pulled my set of "What to Do" cards out of the back pocket of my jeans and flipped through them. Even after only a couple of weeks, they were gray around the edges, and the corners looked like the ears on the border collie that lived across the street. It was still hard for me to know what to do to help other people the way the Tribelet stood up for me.
But Tori didn't exactly need my help. She just looked away from Kylie. Okay. I stuffed the cards back into my pocket and turned my face away too. Which was a good thing, because I was having trouble not smiling as it hit me: the reason Kylie was all prune-faced was because Tori was now more popular than she was.
Kylie had always been what Lydia called the "Queen Bee." Lydia was the grown-up who helped us form our Tribelet and declare war on bullying and come up with the Code for our whole grade. She was going to be glad to hear that the other girls were getting that Kylie wasn't the bee to follow. If Lydia ever came back.
"Aren't you going inside?" somebody said.
I guess I was deeper into that daydream than I thought because I jumped and looked around. Everybody else was headed for the locker room door, which Mrs. Zabriski was holding open. Everybody except me, because I'd been standing there daydreaming like a dork, and Heidi, because ... well, I had no idea why she was there, but whatever it was, it couldn't be good. My mouth went dry again.
"Oh," I said, because I could never think of anything to say to any of Those Girls.
I twisted toward the building, but Heidi's nose, which was so small it was hardly there, wrinkled as she smiled. The sun gleamed on the (new) blond streaks in the almost-like-Kylie's bob, and she looped her arm through mine the way characters did in books. "Kylie wants you to come be with us."
"It's the middle of class."
"Coach gave us free time in the locker room, silly," she said, giving me the nose-wrinkling smile again. "Pick a locker and then come be with us."
Voices in my head screamed, Get out of here NOW! But Heidi held on to me all the way into the girls' locker room, chatty-chat-chatting away about how Kylie brought her makeup kit and she was going to show us how to use eye shadow. She let go finally and said, "We're over there when you're done."
I didn't even look to see where "over there" was. I charged straight for my Tribelet, who were already lined up on a bench between two rows of lockers.
"We saved one for you, Ginger," Winnie said. She pointed to an open metal door.
"What do I do?" I said.
Mitch looked up at me and shook her spiky head. "You gotta pay attention when Coach is talking or you're gonna be puppy chow."
I turned helplessly to Tori, who said, "Bring a lock for it. For now, you just have to put a piece of paper in there with your name on it."
"I'm doing yours," Ophelia said, head bowed over a pad and markers, braid swinging. "I'm doing all of ours."
"And then we're going to work on those poems for English." Tori shuddered like she was about to eat a cockroach. I felt kind of the same way. I liked writing poems, but the assignment was to compose a sonnet about your best quality. I wasn't sure I had one.
"I started mine," Ophelia said.
She flipped her braid over her shoulder and cleared her throat and arranged her hand in the air until Tori said, "Jeepers, Phee. Tell it, already."
Winnie giggled. It sounded the same as a little silver bell, and I liked it.
"Okay, I'm ready," Ophelia said.
Of course she had to clear her throat one more time. I was about to ask her if she wanted a cough drop.
Finally, Ophelia started in. "I woke from my sleep—"
I didn't hear the rest because somebody grabbed my sleeve and pulled me out of our row of lockers. That somebody was Izzy, and her round cheeks were bright red, which meant she had news. Not good. She wasn't as gentle as Heidi as she hauled me around the end of the lockers, and all I could see as she dragged me were the Tribelet's eyes bulging.
Excerpted from You Can't Sit with Us by NANCY RUE. Copyright © 2014 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
I haven't exactly read this book but I read the preview and it's super good and I really like Nancy Rue. For anyone who's religious or wants to know God, she is a great author for you. All of her stories deal with real-life situations and how to turn to God for help. Hope this review helped : )
This was another eye-opening story in the mean girl makeover trilogy. I admit that a few times I almost cried, but I also laughed, cheered, and just simply couldn't stop reading. I liked Ginger in book one SO NOT OKAY, but I really loved getting to know her in this one. She is so awesome! I'm so glad that her talents, personality, and things she loves came out to others. I also really liked Colin and how he had a big role in this one (you'll have to read the book to find out more about him). I mentioned the story was eye-opening earlier and it was on many levels because last year my little sister got bullied (just not to the same extent as Ginger). It was heart-breaking to think of what she felt during that time, especially since I know I was not the most understanding. I know that after reading YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US I want to be more like Lydia where I can be a trusted person to come too and encourage girls to be all Jesus called them to be. I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who works with tween girls as well as these same girls. It can be life-changing. (I received this novel from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.)
This was a difficult book to read . . . in a good way! You Can't Sit with Us is the second book in the Mean Girl Makeover series. This time we get to look at bullying from the perspective of the one being bullied. As a mom it just made me cringe. All the ugly behavior of middle school girls is splashed on the page and it is both heart-rending and anger inducing. The first book in the series was So Not Okay and the story focused on the perspective of Tori who was a bystander to the bullying. This time around the focus shifts to Ginger who is the new girl and the bullying target of Kylie. I was struck by how my emotions shifted back and forth in this story. I found myself thinking, "Kylie, why do you have to be so mean? It just makes you so ugly." Then a bit later I would think, "Don't do it or say it Ginger! You know the outcome won't be good." And all along the way I just wanted one of the Tribelet to speak up. I felt like my shoulders were up around my ears just from the stress of it all. Unfortunately the reason I had such a strong reaction to the story was because it is very real. Add the thought of it being your daughter that is being bullied is enough to make a momma come unglued! The really good thing about this whole series is that Nancy Rue uses the characters to teach very important lessons on bullying that can be applied to real life situations. As a mom I would highly recommend this whole series for moms and daughters to read and discuss together. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Kylie pinched the side of my hand. She might as well have just shouted, “You can’t hang out with them anywhere, so don’t even think about it.” Now I had to figure out how to avoid the Tribelet for the rest of the day. As I made my way to my seat, I realized that was going to be hard because, in one lunch period, I’d gone so far backward that I didn’t even know which way I was facing. Book: You Can’t Sit With Us by Nancy Rue, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2014 Genre: Realistic Fiction Target Audience: Girls 11-15 Subjects: Bullying, Family Relationships, Friendship, Death of loved one, Truth Summary: For one week Ginger’s life changed for the better. For one week she was free from the fear of bullying that had consumed her life. But it didn’t last long. Kylie and the pack just learned how to be sneakier about the bullying so that teachers couldn’t catch them. And now Ginger isn’t necessarily the only target. It’s almost an attack on her family. Because Ginger spilled some information about her mom that the mean girls fully intend to use against her. The threat is simple: stop hanging out with Tori and your other friends and we won’t spread lies about your mom all over school. In fear Ginger agrees and starts avoiding her friends. It makes no difference though. The pack wants to ruin her life as much as possible. So now that she’s alone, she’s more attacked than ever. Social Media is one of the ways used to get around the teachers and spread the lies. Ginger knows that she has to keep it all a secret for the sake of her dad. But how? The bullying is getting worse all the time. Notes: The second in the Mean Means Makeover Trilogy, You Can’t Sit With Us gives the perspective of the victim. The first book looked at the situation from the perspective of the bystander and the third book will be from the perspective of the bully. This story picks up right where the other one left off. Kylie and her friends had gotten caught and punished for their bullying and the school created an anti-bullying code. But Kylie and her friends are smart enough to find ways to sort of go underground with the bullying. The most effective thing they do is alienate Ginger so that she no longer tells her friends or teachers or Dad or mentor what is going on. The beauty of this book comes when Lydia, the sort of mentor or counselor type figure in the series, starts bringing God into the discussion with Ginger. Ginger heard a sermon years ago that placed God as a bully sending hard or hurtful things into our lives just to strengthen us. Believing that God wants to hurt her, she has rejected Him. Lydia guides Ginger to the truth and shows her how everything in the code comes straight from the Scripture itself. The author also places another character in the story whose faith, in small ways, encourages Ginger. The focus of this book really is on standing up for your right to be yourself. Ginger is actually a brilliant and beautiful young girl, but as she writes in her journal, that’s one of the things “nobody knows about me”. A wise teacher at school assigns her and another victim of bullying a project that allows them to express themselves and think through their real-life problems in an allegorical story they write. I highly recommend this book to all young girls. Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5 Reviewer: J:-)mi Ephesians 3:14-19 – For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Thank you to Nancy Rue for sending me a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. It was wonderful!