SO NOT OKAY is the first of three books in a pro-active series on bullying by Nancy Rue. It is juvenile fiction in content, but its topic extends far beyond the age group.
The book centers around a middle school girl named Tori who has to learn how to stand up to a “Queen Bee” named Kylie and her friends. Tori discovers how to “take back” her control over friendships and her attitude towards others.
Among the other themes are learning how to stick up for your friends, what it means to truly be “best friends” (hint: it doesn’t mean being a doormat!), and how to go about getting support and help when it’s needed.
Anyone who has made it through middle school and high school knows the effects of bullying. Rarely does anyone make it to adulthood without enduring some kind of mockery. In a world where the bullied student responds with firearms or IEDs, it is important to teach alternative ways to “fighting back” — ways which demonstrate self-control, self-respect and self-awareness.
Ms. Rue’s book touches a chord. You remember what it was like to be scared to present in front of the class. You feel those gut-wrenching moments of ridicule and frustration. You relate to the quandary: tell or stay silent? stay with my friends or go to a “cool” clique?
There is also an excellent role model for Tori. Lydia, a research assistant for Tori’s father, has real life experience in dealing with bullies, disappointment and taunting. Her gentle guidance and example help Tori and her friends come up with a solution.
While I think it would be a great book to get in the hands of older elementary school students and middle schoolers, I think I am little too old to judge it for certain! My plan is to share the book with some students at our church and get their feedback. But – I feel certain that they will be encouraged, challenged and strengthened by this book. The book has some Christian content as its backbone, but it would not prevent someone from another faith group from gaining valuable lessons from its pages.
So Not Okay: Mean Girl Makeover, by Nancy Rue. Published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. (c) 2014.
Soft cover: 284 pages
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided this book without cost from the publisher and was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”