Browse By

       Follow Me on Pinterest

Tweets by @sweetonbooks

In accordance with FTC Guidelines, Sweet on Books would like to tell you about
the books that we review. While we often purchase our own books, we do also receive free books from publishers
and authors. We are never compensated for our reviews.

Unsubscribe from our newsletter





Capture the Flag
Kate Messner


Sweet Sites for Children's Books

Seven Impossible Things...
100 Scope Notes
A Fuse #8 Production
A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Books 4 Your Kids
Chicken Spaghetti
Charlotte's Library
From the Mixed-Up Files...
Jen Robinson's Book Page
Just One More Book
Literacy Learning Zone
Mid-Grade Re(ad)action
Middle Grade Mania
Ms. Yingling Reads
Nerdy Book Club
Pragmatic Mom
Smack Dab in the Middle
The Book Smugglers
The Children's Book Review
The Guardian: Children's Books
The Miss Rumphius Effect
The Reading Tub
There's a Book
Through the Looking Glass
Waking Brain Cells
Bystander PDF Print E-mail

What You Need to Know:
• This is an important book, and should be required reading for 5 - 9th graders.
• This book is about bullying from the victims point of view.
• This can be a scary book, depending on how sensitive your child is.
• While the protaganist/antagonists are all boys in this story, this book should and can be read by both genders. There
   is an important supporting character that is a girl and a side storyline that follows a group of girls and cyberbullying.
Sweet Book Summary:
Bystander is Eric's story. Eric is the new kid when he moves with his mom and little brother back to Mom's hometown after his dad takes off. His dad suffers from schizophrenia and couldn't be part of the family anymore, so Eric doesn't have much contact with him, and misses him dearly. On his first day in town, Eric comes in contact with the school bully, Griffin. The boys are in seventh grade, and this is no cartoon character of a bully, this is the real deal. Griffin is charming, suave and very appealing but Griffin is also evil. Griffin takes a liking to Eric, but when Eric stands up to Griffin, Eric goes from bystander to victim very quickly. The things Griffin is capable of are chilling, particularly chilling to a parent reading the story. The most unnerving thing about Griffin is that he never actually does the bullying, he is able to get those around him to do it for him.

This made for a very lively discussion in our Mother/Son book club and a friend's similar book club. I found it quite interesting that many of the fifth grade boys loved the book, it is a good read as the pacing is very frenetic. I kept asking the boys if any of the stuff that Griffin and his posse do in the book scared them, and all responded no, except one boy, who is very sensitive and a bit mature for his years. This young boy found the whole book disturbing , like the adults. So I think that says a couple things about this book. Fifth grade is probably the youngest group that should be reading this book. Clearly, the majority of our fifth grade boys were missing the emotional layer of this story, so any younger and they won't get anything out of this story. And on the flip side, if your child is too sensitive, definitely proceed with caution and TALK TALK TALK about what they are reading and feeling.

I think Preller's best message that comes out of this story is that silence can be deadly, to not be complicit with our muteness. In his acknowledgments, Preller quotes Martin Luther King, "In the end, we'll remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Bystander would make a very good addition to a Civil Rights or Holocaust unit.
Author: James Preller Illustrator: N/A Published: 2009, 240 pages
Themes: Friendship, Bullying, Determination, Good Book Club Selection, Single Parents
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Blubber, Judy Blume
Along Came Spider, James Preller
This recommendation was written by: Melissa Y.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound
Bad Book
4 Thursday, 28 August 2014 22:08
Herp Derp
It is just too predictable and just unexplainable. The ending was a bit too... unfinished... or incomplete. I feel like the author could have done a bit more
3 Tuesday, 04 September 2012 23:02
victor lo
sounds like a good book i have to do it on a assignment and type a summary!!
2 Thursday, 29 March 2012 21:36
this book is awsome
Bystander my review
1 Monday, 12 December 2011 22:49
Jordan Hall
To me the book Bystander was a very good book but i would not even recomend it to 5th graders.. to me the book was kinda disterbing bc of the beging when the ketchup was almost blood..... I would recoment it to the more older kind in middle school.....

Your name:
Your email: