Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12 to 18
Kevin Frasier is in a new high school—his fourth in the last year. He is trying to get along and not cause any waves. When he falls in with Nick and his friends, Frasier ends up going along as the group bullies and threatens their way through the school. When Nick starts tormenting Erin—and she stands up to him—the harassment escalates until Kevin is forced to make a difficult decision and risk everything.
About the author
Darlene Ryan has been writing for as long as she can remember, although she pursued post-secondary degrees in biology and education. Despite being endlessly fascinated by theories on the origin of the universe, she decided she wasn't cut out to be a scientist and returned to writing. Darlene was the 2006 poet recipient of the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award. As Sofie Kelly, she writes the best-selling Magical Cats mysteries. She lives with her family in Fredericton, New Brunswick. More information is available at www.darleneryan.com.
- Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
- Commended, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Quick Picks
- Commended, Resource Links, The Year's Best Books
Excerpt: Responsible: Orca Soundings (by (author) Darlene Ryan)
Erin sucked in a sharp breath. "And I know you, Nick, because I can smell the stink of trash anywhere."
Shut up, Erin, I thought. Just shut up. Let them shave your head and get it over with. Nick bent over and grabbed Erin by the jaw, pulling her up so she was sitting. She was shaking. There was a smirk on his face, and I could hear how hard he was breathing. He pushed his mask up onto the top of his head.
"Ryan has taken a much-discussed issue, teen bullying, and has 'made it new'—an achievement to which all novelists aspire."
"Very topical...opens the door for a great discussion."
"Convey[s] an important lesson and some thought-provoking questions...The violence in the book is not glorified in any way and is presented as successfully scary and sickening."
NMRLS Youth Services Book Review
"Set around the hot topic of bullying, Ryan tells an action-packed story that includes current teen issues from both home and the school environment."