From the Series Surviving Southside
“Was he . . . you know?” Bella doesn’t know if Dominic was gay or not, but she knows he was bullied. And she knows the adults who could have helped didn’t because of some stupid policy. Now Dominic’s dead. It’s never been Bella’s thing to stand up for a cause, but for some reason, this fight has become her fight.
|Interest Level||Grade 6 - Grade 12|
|Reading Level||Grade 4|
|Genre||Fiction, High/Low, Young Adult|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Darby Creek ™, Lerner Digital ™|
|Number of Pages||128|
|Reading Counts! Level||4.4|
“The characters are well-drawn, and there is room for nuance….An inspiring tale, simply told.” —Kirkus Reviews
Series Review: While fairly short and to the point, this series of low-reading-level, high-interest fiction titles are interesting to read and worth having in any teen collection. The topics covered are hard hitting, controversial, and may fill a need in most teen collections. Each title can be read alone but also manages to connect with the other titles in one way or another. In The Alliance, lesbian Carmen Mendoza is being threatened, probably by the same person who bullied football player Scott King’s best friend into suicide (before the book starts) over being gay. Both try to start a Gay-Straight Alliance separately, then are teamed up and almost succeed before school board politics interfere. The GSA story appears again, in a different way, in The Fight; which features Bella trying to take a stand against a school board policy that may have contributed to a friend killing himself partway through the story. In Overexposed, Daisy sends some explicit phone pics to her boyfriend right before they fight. Naturally, they end up all over school, her older brother tries to defend her, and the school administration steps in with their sexting policies. Finally, Full Impact demonstrates to readers the dangers of football, focusing on concussions. Arnie begins to act a bit weird, but his best friend Norval tries to blow it off. Norval does not want to ruin their friendship or Arnie’s chances at a college scholarship—until it is too late. Arnie is in the hospital, and his football and high school careers are over. Each book has strongly believable plots, well-developed characters, and relevant topics for today’s youth. While this reviewer only read four of the twelve titles in the SurvivingSouthside series, all would be worth adding in the less expensive paperback format to any teen collection.
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This innovative YA series is a set of high-interest urban fiction novels that’s written at a fourth-grade reading level, specifically designed for reluctant and striving readers, including those who read below grade level or are ESL/ELL View available downloads →