newwavepolly

33 Minutes - Todd Hasak-Lowy,  Bethany Barton (Illustrator) Obviously the target audience for this book is much younger than myself, so the subject matter is not something I'm particularly interested reading about in or can relate to. That being said, I probably would have enjoyed this book as a middle schooler. It's a quite easy, quick read dealing with some middle school friendship fallouts and bullying. The story is very familiar and not much different from the abundance of other children/tweenage fiction available.

The only massive complaint about the novel I have is that it falls directly into the overused, counter-productive bullying trope wherein the "bullied" adopt a smug attitude of "it's okay because I'm really smart and the bullies are really stupid". The main character, Sam, despite being the victim, is incredibly judgmental of his bullies and treats their interest in football with condescension. There are moments when the narrative attempts to subvert this trope (ie a teacher essentially saying it's ok to be into different things because people really are really quite ok with that, just a middle school atmosphere forces them to pretend they're not), but a lot of the characterization of Sam plays too much into it.

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