This book really took me by surprise, it was definitely not what I was expecting at all. The book deals very strongly with the issues surrounding bullying, but within this book they take on rather a sinister tone that appealed to my dark side.
Alice Turner is seen as a social outcast by everyone at school, which puts her in the harrowing position of being a target of the school bullies, known as the Populars. They make her life a living hell. On one of her journeys home, desperate to stay out of their way, she comes across a little cafe called OTOLI. She wanders in to find a safe place to go and a new friend to help her deal with the bullying.
As their friendship grows, things begin to change at school. The Populars begin to lose out on the Popularity stakes and life begins to get easier for Alice. However, as the Populars suffer, Alice begins to wonder whether her friendship with Jenny is causing more harm than good. Alice has a feeling that the fall of enemies may be due to Jenny.
Jenny's friendship begins to cause Alice a lot of problems when she is unable to meet her friend's demands. Alice learns that if she is ever to grow stronger and move on with her life, she must face the bullies head on. She must stop Jenny from bullying her.
This is really quite a sad tale, where two young girls suffer from the devastating effects of long term bullying. Jenny has suffered just like Alice, yet she doesn't deal with it in a mature way, more hell bent on revenge than moving on. However Alice, begins to realise that revenge really isn't the answer. She finds an amazing inner strength, to overcome the obstacles she faces.
Jenny is an extremely interesting, if somewhat sinister character, whose secret past is slowly revealed to show the reasons for her behaviour. She believes she is being helpful and doesn't realise she is causing more harm than good. There is also another character, Keiran within the book who suffers from bullying too, however he seems to be able to stand up to Jenny better than Alice does.
The title intrigued me and the word does have meaning once you work out what the letters stand for, however that really isn't my secret to reveal!
Even though the book, is quite short, I found it moved at quite a pace, leaving me enthralled until the final outcome.
This book really hits home with the effects of bullying, showing just how it can escalate out of control, unless someone takes a stand. I know that it is a prime concern with majority of schools these days, but I cannot help but wonder if enough is being done. Bullying seems to me to be more immediate these days with bullies being able to victimize those chosen through mobile phones, email and Internet sites such as Facebook. I hope this book can help someone bring about change.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the organisation 'Bullying UK' which is a good enough reason in itself to buy the book. Luckily the book is an extremely good read too, so well worth buying. I was considering a giveaway for this book, instead I decided that I wanted it to go into a secondary school where hopefully it will be of use, so I am passing it in onto the lovely Emma Book Angel at Bookangel's Booktopia for her to put in her library.
If you know someone who is being bullied, yet struggles to talk about it, then this might be a good book to introduce them too.