From a star football player standing up for a tormented student to a ruthless bully who tests the faith of a religious girl, a collection of stories embodies the teen "outsider" experience.
Lacey is afraid to death that standing up for the school "freak" will destroy her popularity. Gene, mocked one time too many, heads for class with a loaded rifle. High school can be a war zone of popularity and persecution, where no one really looks at the kids on the fringe. In this powerful and timely collection, some of today's most acclaimed authors bring to life eleven stories of outsiders facing the constant struggle of hate and acceptance."Kids who are geeks, unathletic, poor, emotionally fragile, loners, or unattractive by current standards form the heart of this collection of exceptional stories by well-known YA authors such as Joan Bauer, Chris Crutcher, and M. E. Kerr. Inspired by the events at Columbine High School, the authors pondered what sorts of heartbreak could cause teens to react so powerfully and violently, and how being isolated and shut out of high school groups could tear down the fragile walls of self-esteem, making vulnerable individuals snap and cause massive destruction. The result is a compilation of short stories from the point of view of those tormented, and those who view others being bullied and how their perceptions change as they examine the situations. While all the stories are excellent, Jack Gantos's "Muzak for Prozac" is an exceptional example of the fragile balance that one teen struggles to maintain through the use of mood-stabilizing chemicals. A must-buy for all libraries."--SLJ