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5.0 out of 5 stars High School Bullying, 15 Feb. 2013
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Ismay1012 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diary of a Witness (Hardcover)
This was an absolutely brilliant, compelling story. Aimed at young adults, it is a story set in California and tells about an extraordinary friendship between two boys who are both horribly victimised for no other reason that they're not `in' with the in-crowd. Ernie is grossly overweight but trying to do something about it, and Will is thin, spotty and plain unattractive. The boys stick together through thick and thin, doing the sensible thing and trying to ignore their tormentors, protecting each other whenever they can and trying to fit in. When a terrible accident occurs and Will's life is made even more chaotic than usual it seems the gang of five bullies will show no mercy and set out to hunt down the two unpopular boys.

Will feels he is out of options and this story goes on to show how he deals with his despair. Ernie tries his very best to help his only friend. He understands his position all too well. When matters turn violent the two boys have very different ways of coping and they both make a final decision: a decision that changes their lives forever.

This story is heartbreaking with hugely sympathetic characters. It is written as Ernie's journal, cataloguing events as they happen. He bears his heart and soul, hiding away his journal so that his innermost and most tormented thoughts are kept totally for himself. He is such a well-grounded and thoughtful young man. Issues of bullying are really well described and the shining light within this novel is how it ends. I really loved it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 13 Jan. 2010
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TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diary of a Witness (Hardcover)
Ernie lives with his mother. She loves him dearly and provides well for him, but practically every day is a living nightmare for Ernie. He's a loner, interested in videos games and not sports, and at about 100 pounds overweight, he's the object of ridicule from his fellow classmates.

For Ernie school days are torture. Teachers seem to turn a blind eye when he is made the butt of every joke. There are five jocks that have made Ernie their special target. In the hallway between classes and in the locker room before and after gym, they tease and taunt and play endless pranks. When opportunities arise to report the pranksters, Ernie always senses that if he does complain his tormentors will only find ways to make his life more miserable.

Ernie does have one friend. His name is Will, and he constantly promises that he has Ernie's back. Will is skinny and suffers from chronic acne, which makes him another frequent target for the jocks. Since his mother left, he and his younger brother have lived with a father more interested in finding his next beer than in raising his two sons. Together, Ernie and Will help each other through the agonizing world of their small town high school.

After a fishing trip that ends in tragedy, the teasing and taunting of the two teens increases. The attacks are more deliberate and result in potentially dangerous injuries. Ernie can't bring himself to discuss the problem with his mother, but he finds some comfort and release in writing about the incidents in a journal given to him by his uncle. Will, now living with his mother since the fateful fishing trip, reacts in more negative ways that have Ernie worrying about Will's sanity and safety.

DIARY OF A WITNESS addresses the growing problem of bullying in today's society. Catherine Ryan Hyde takes readers into the lives of two teens facing bullying on a daily basis. As with many victims of this increasing problem, they feel helpless to change their situations, which make them even more vulnerable to the vicious verbal and physical attacks. This emotionally charged novel will hopefully make readers take notice of and become more active in the prevention of the bullying behavior they witness in their communities.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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5.0 out of 5 stars If only more books were this good, 27 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Diary of a Witness (Hardcover)
This book is so alive I'm surprised it doesn't jump out your hand while you're reading it. It's also itimate and personal. Although aimed at teens, I'd say its also fine for adults. As usual Catherine Ryan Hyde writes from the heart - where better?
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Diary of a Witness
Diary of a Witness by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Hardcover - 25 Aug. 2009)
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