Monday, September 17, 2012

Mandy's Book of the Week (9/17)

How about a classic YA novel today?

I read this book as a part of the "classics" lesson in my most recent class.  My first impression wasn't great; I mean, just look at that cover?  But I was a bit intrigued by the synopsis, so I cracked it open and got to reading.

Change a few details and this could be any book about bullying written today.

Every year at the Catholic school where this novel is set, they host a chocolate sale.  It is a way to show school spirit and help raise some very needed funds for the school each year.

Operating under the radar, even though everyone from teachers to students know they exist, is a group called the Vigils.  The Vigils go around basically bullying and harassing kids into pulling pranks or doing their dirty work.  One of the first "assignments" they give during this particular school year is for a kid to go into a room and loosen all the screws to every desk, chair, table, and the chalkboard.  That way when the students go to sit down, they'll all collapse.

Jerry is a freshman who lives with his dad (his mother died the previous spring) and he's doing everything he can to make the football team.  Beyond that, he just wants to be left alone.  Of course the leader of the Vigils, Archie, singles Jerry out for an extra special assignment targeting the chocolate sale.  Basically, he's supposed to not sell the chocolates.  So when the time comes and the teachers are handing out boxes, Jerry should refuse them.  This leads to unexpected repercussions and the Vigils tell him after two weeks to accept the chocolates and sell them as usual.  But Jerry continues to refuse them in direct violation to the order from the Vigils.  This is where the heavy handed bullying starts.

I enjoyed this book a lot, but I see it having huge potential as a book for dudes.  It was a page turner for sure.

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