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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,801 ratings  ·  346 reviews
Eric is the new kid in seventh grade. Griffin wants to be his friend. When you're new in town, it's hard to know who to hang out with--and who to avoid. Griffin seems cool, confident, and popular.

But something isn't right about Griffin. He always seems to be in the middle of bad things. And if Griffin doesn't like you, you'd better watch your back. There might be a target
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Feiwel & Friends
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Things I learned from reading Bystander:

1. Bullying in middle school is a serious, scary, bloody business.

2. Never, under any circumstances, tell an adult (parent, teacher, principal, counselor, or school police officer) the truth about being bullied. Adults are idiots.

3. Hide the truth and lie about being bullied.

4. The best way to beat a bully is to sink to his level and beat him at his own game breaking any laws necessary in the process.

5. And always remember, as long as the bully leaves YOU
Sally Kruger
Many readers will be able to relate to the main character in James Preller's BYSTANDER. Moving from Ohio to Bellport, Long Island, has made Eric the new kid on the block, and being the new seventh grader has put fear into the hearts of even the most well-adjusted kids.

Eric witnesses a terrified, ketchup-covered boy running from a group of kids. The boy escapes and Eric is left to confront his tormentors. One boy named Griffin appears to be the leader of the group. Griffin tries to intimidate Eri
I NEVER give a book a 1-star rating, and I sure didn't think this would be the book to earn it. But good Lord, you can NOT take an important subject like bullying and treat it like this. I really have no idea why the author chose to bail out at the end of the book. In essence, Preller became a "bystander" to the whole issue. Very disappointing. My friend and colleague, Amanda Mehringer, gave a very thorough review, so I don't have too much to add. You simply cannot write a book for kids that pro ...more
Update (9/26/14): Just finished reading the book again. I also looked at some reviews and was surprised by so many negative reviews. I wonder if they found chapter 18 too much take. In this chapter the English teacher gets upset at how little the students learned from the school consoler. The English teacher then drives home the lesson of history that people will surrender their they own moral code if evil has enough power and authority. unfortunately Preller uses Milgram's experiment which has ...more
Harold Smithson (Suicide punishable by Death)
This isn't your idealized school. This is reality.

As someone who was formerly bullied in elementary school, I consider Bystander to be a success in its goal of presenting an issue as realistically as possible. The characters are not the cardboard cut outs that widely populate the pages of typical novels set at schools.

Eric is the new kid in school. Griffin is the bully. Eric watches Griffin's actions, yet doesn't tell anyone about them. Eric is part of the problem, and he's content there. It's n
"Eric is a normal kid in a normal new school with normal friends and normal bullies. But when the biggest normal bully becomes friends with Eric, he has to think of an extraordinary way to stop him."

"Seems like a decent plot." I thought. "Let's try it!"

One reading session later...


Hello everybody! I am "That One Reviewer" with a book I stumbled across calle, "Bystander." Pretty good name as it suits the first half of the story. Will this story finally stop the bully and become a
Lylah Aharoni
The reason why I am reading this book is because It was recommended to me so I wanted to give it a shot. What most stood out to be about the book was it's plot. It is mainly about bullying, although from what I can see so far it is being handled in all the wrong ways. For example, as narrated, “Through it all, Eric didn’t say a word. He was innocent, Eric reminded himself, he never participated in the pranks. He never lifted a finger to harm David Hallenback. He didn’t think it was funny, so he ...more
When Eric Hayes' father checks out of family life due to mental illness, Eric's mother decides to move him and his brother Rudy to Long Island where she grew up. That fall Eric begins school at the local middle school where he is "befriended" by the school bully, Griffin. Eric knows there's something not quite right with this kid, but being new in school, who's he to argue?

As time goes on, Eric develops a serious dislike for the way Griffin treats him and others. Griffin steals from him and Eric
Michelle Rocha
I liked that this book wasn't too preachy about its central theme, bullying. Sure, the adults in the book try to instill the typical anti-bullying ideals, but the students pretty much disregard those directives. Preller understands that bullying is a complex problem without an easy solution. I like how he describes Eric's inner turmoil both when he is the bystander and when he is the victim. The involved parties don't rely on the adults to work the problem out for them, and while the course of a ...more
This is a story about bullies and being bullied. It begins with the new kid in town, Eric, meeting the local bully, Griffin. Griffin takes a liking to Eric, and though Eric sees something dark in Griffin, Eric hangs out with him and his gang and tries to deny what he is seeing. Eventually, things take a bad turn and Eric becomes Griffin's victim.

What I liked about this book is that it did a good job of raising the issues around bullying. It also did not have a good guy/bad guy dynamic. None of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zane Borchard
The book Bystander by James Preller was an excellent book. The plot in this story moves along at a pace where the reader can follow along easily. The conflict in Bystander is Eric Hayes moved to Long Island and meets Griffin Connelly. Griffin is the bully at school, but he wants to be friends with Eric. Eric is alright with being friends with him at first but sees Griffin bullying a kid then decides he doesn’t want to be friends any more. So Griffin starts to bully Eric.
This story is very belie
Exit Project

In this book Bystander by James Preller, it talks about a new kid that has just moved in being a bystander and getting bullied. I'm not going to talk so much about what the book is about just going to give a description of the main point. The bully is Griffin Conley. At first Eric thought Griffin is a cool, nice guy. However was he really? Later on he finds that Griffin is cruel, but in front of adults he puts his innocent face on. Was this all an act? Griffin steals things; he thin
Erin Forson
James Preller
A long time ago a woman named Kitty Genoveve was being murdered in an alley. She screamed for help. 38 people opened their windows in the apartment building next door but not one of them called the police or an ambulance. These neighbors watched Kitty's murder because they figured someone else would call for help. If you stand by and watch while someone is called names are you just as bad as the one who did the name calling? If you say nothing while someone is beaten becaus
Johanna Freivalds
When it comes to bullying, if you aren't part of the solution you're often part of the problem. Bystander is a decent story about a group of teens influenced by a bright, manipulative kid, who judging from a outward appearances is a leader among his peers. The story explores the topic of what it feels like to be the "new kid" in school and how weighty the decisions one makes to fit in can be. Also examined is what being the victim of a bully looks and feels like. The descriptions from the victim ...more
Izzy Chong
What did I think of this book? Where do I begin?
It was pretty much a copy of Mean Girls but with no memorable lines, jokes, and guys.
Long story short: A really, really bad version of Mean Girls.
And if it was up to me, I would have never read this thing. However, I had to because my school decided that it was, "Required reading" which kind of was stupid because really, this thing was terrible. No offense.
You can say what you want about Lindsey Lohan, but Cady Heron was so much more interesting th
Colin White
Eric is new in town. Everything is new to him. New school, new house, new people. About a week before the first day of school, Eric becomes friends with Griffin, who seems friendly. As Eric is Griffin’s friend, he is also part of his gang. David is the “victim” of the gang. Eric was never a direct part of bullying, he was just the guy who sat there and watched it happen. How Eric handles the issue of bullying in his school is the central theme in Bystander.
Bystander, by James Preller, is one of
Jordan Tignor
I had higher hopes for this book, and instead, ended up with a lot of things that bothered me about it. A list will be below the cut because it will include spoilers.

(view spoiler)
Dec 17, 2014 David added it
In the book the “Bystander” a young man name Eric experience the most difficult part of his life. High school! The things that Eric sees and does will surprise you. Eric wants to seek for help but doesn't want the bully coming from him next. Eric, a small boy from a small town call Bellport, Long Island goes through the biggest trouble that our nation is aware of. Bullying. “This book is a great book to read” stated Albert from Oklahoma, this book draws the attention of not only the people who a ...more
When i started reading this book, I thought it was going to be good. I had high intentions. Honesty. However, it was not what I expected, and for many reasons.
1) The blurb really doesn't explain the book well. To be honest, they didn't really bully Eric. They beat him up and that was pretty much all. Not that it was okay, but it was not like the did with the other kid, David.
2) I thought this book was going to be a great story about bullying and how you ca deal with it. In the beginning of the s
Eric is new to his middle school and struggling to belong. He makes friends with Griffin, the school bully. Eric has to decide whether to be a bystander or to stand up to Griffin and risk becoming Griffin's next victim. There are some great issues to discuss in this book, but I have some problems with it as well.

1.Griffin is not just a bully, but a criminal and possible psychopath.
2.It bothered me that Eric never talked with his mother or any other adults about what was happening to him. We alwa
Tyler Springer
BYSTANDER: A Bystander? Or the Bully's Next Target?
What will it take to not be in the line of fire of a bully?
Showing him your cowardliness or standing up for whats right?
Tyler Springer
Mrs. Mattern Ms. Lage
6, June 2014

Bystanders is all about Eric and his story. Eric was from Ohio but now Eric is the new kid in town of Long Island when he moves with his mother and his little brother back to his mothers hometown after his dad suffered from an illness called schizophrenia and couldn't be with his
Explores the complexities of bullying, without giving any easy answers and without preaching.
I read the book "Bystander" by James Preller this book got me confused on some of the characters as in David Hallenback a character in the story he is bullied by these couple of kids and he doesn't do anything about it. He wants to be cool and hang out with them but he just keeps getting beaten up and hurt. So the main character eric hangs out with these kids but doesn't know they are bad so he tries to say hi to David but david tries to act cool and is mean to him. So David joins the kids and ...more
Title: Bystander
Author: James Preller
Date published: 2009
Format: eBook
Genre or subject: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult.
Synopsis: Eric has just moved with his mother and younger brother Rudy to Long Island, NY from Ohio. His father suffers from schizophrenia and left years before. Just before the start of seventh grade Eric encounters a boy named Griffin who wants to be his friend. Griffin is charismatic and popular but there is also something unsettling about him. Wanting to fit i
This book was the 6th Grade Summer School read this year. Loved the topic and how my 32 (not so bad as it sounds, I had 2 sessions)immediately were engaged in the book because the bullying issues and being new to the school hit home with each of them. Every day the kids just wanted to read on and on. My rating of only 3 stars is due to the fact that the "ending" left ever so many things unresolved. Even though my students had a history of being poor readers, they were as furious as I was - thoug ...more
Ryan Grey
In Bystander, the new kid in town makes friends with someone who we will later learn to be a bully. Griffin. Eric and Griffin start out as friends but Eric slowly starts to see the truth about him. I thought it was a nice read, and I felt a little guilty for David, a character bullied by Griffin in the beginning of the book. However, I didn't find it as suspenseful as I thought it would be. With this book, the suspense didn't feel as real as other books I've read, and the ending wasn't nearly as ...more
Simon Torres
The book Bystander was about 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 charmin ...more
Debra Gastelum
I finished this book this afternoon. It kept me nervous most of the way through wondering how Eric was going to deal with the bully, Griffin Connelly. It sure did make me think about how our students interact with each other and I hope it's made me more aware of the different ways people bully others. I know I'll do my BEST to make sure I help anyone in need. I never want to be just a bystander!
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Class of 2014: Bystander 1 7 Jun 12, 2013 09:35PM  
Eric and Griffin 1 10 Apr 24, 2013 10:13AM  
Bystander by James Preller (Chapter 19) 5 19 Nov 28, 2012 08:26PM  
Bystander by James Preller (Chapter 19) 1 2 Feb 21, 2012 07:59AM  
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James Preller (born 1961) is the children's book author of the Jigsaw Jones Mysteries, which are published by Scholastic Corporation. He grew up in Wantagh, New York and went to college in Oneonta, New York. After graduating from college in 1983, James Preller was employed as a waiter for one year before being hired as a copywriter by Scholastic Corporation, where he was introduced (through their ...more
More about James Preller...
The Case of Hermie the Missing Hamster (Jigsaw Jones Mystery #1) Before You Go A Pirate's Guide to First Grade The Case of the Christmas Snowman (Jigsaw Jones Mystery, No. 2) The Case of the Mummy Mystery (Jigsaw Jones, #6)

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“Middle School," Griffin repeated. "Where did they come up with that, anyway? We're in the middle of what, exactly? too old for elementary school, but not big enough for high school. So they shove us here. Look around. There's not an interesting person in sight, just a bunch of clones who want to be like everyone else.” 11 likes
“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” 2 likes
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