Jan's Reviews > Scrawl

Scrawl by Mark Shulman
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Jan 19, 11

bookshelves: teenbooks, contemporary

When eighth-grade school bully Tod and his friends get caught committing a crime on school property, his penalty--staying after school and writing in a journal under the eye of the school guidance counsellor--reveals aspects of himself that he prefers to keep hidden.

I liked the fact that Tod was not a stereotypical bully in many ways. The stereotype of bullies is a thuggish oaf with no brains, but this bully is very smart. You can relate to Tod and understand that he is a thinking, feeling person and not just a nasty villain. The characters are well drawn, including the parents.

I also liked the way the story is told using the device of the journal. You like Tod, even though you don’t like his bullying. We understand, as his counselor understands, that Tod is a rather remarkable kid. His creative abilities in costume design also belie the bully stereotype and add to the interest of the character.

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