Paperback | May 10, 2011

byJames Preller

not yet rated|write a review

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 on it.

As Eric gets drawn deeper into Griffin's dark world, he begins to see the truth about Griffin: He's a liar, a bully, a thief. Eric wants to break away, do the right thing. But in one shocking moment, he goes from being a bystander . . . to the bully's next victim.

This title has Common Core connections.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$8.97 online
$8.99 list price
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

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...

James Preller is the author of the popular Jigsaw Jones mystery books, which have sold more than 10 million copies since 1998. He is also the author of Six Innings, an ALA Notable Book, and Mighty Casey, his own twist on the classic poem, "Casey at the Bat." In addition to writing full-time, Preller plays in a men's hardball league an...

other books by James Preller

Good Night, Zombie
Good Night, Zombie

Paperback|Sep 24 2013


Swamp Monster
Swamp Monster

Paperback|Jul 7 2015


Home Sweet Horror
Home Sweet Horror

Paperback|Jul 9 2013


see all books by James Preller
Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 7.63 × 5.19 × 0.68 inPublished:May 10, 2011Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:031254796X

ISBN - 13:9780312547967


Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter 1KetchupThe first time Eric Hayes ever saw him, David Hallenback was running, if you could call it that, running in a halting, choppy-stepped, stumpy-legged shamble, slowing down to look back over his shoulder, stumbling forward, pausing to catch his breath, then lurching forward again.     He was running from, not to, and not running, but fleeing.     Scared witless.     Eric had never seen the boy before. But in this town, a place called Bellport, Long Island, it was true of most kids. Eric didn’t know anybody. He bounced the basketball, flicking it with his fingertips, not looking at the ball, or the rim, or anything else on the vast, empty grounds behind the middle school except for that curly-haired kid who couldn’t run to save his life. Which was too bad, really, because it looked to Eric like he might be doing exactly that—running for his life.     Eric took a halfhearted jumper, missed. No lift in his legs. The ball bounced to the left wing, off the asphalt court and onto the grass, where it rolled and settled, unchased. Eric had been shooting for almost an hour. Working on his game or just killing time, Eric wasn’t sure. He was tired and hot and a little bored or else he would have bounded after the ball like a pup, pounced on it after the first bounce, spun on spindly legs, and fired up a follow-up shot. Instead he let the ball roll to the grass and, hands on his hips, dripping sweat, watched the running boy as he continued across the great lawn in his direction.     He doesn’t see me, Eric thought.     Behind him there was the sprawling Final Rest Pet Cemetery. According to Eric’s mother, it was supposedly the third-largest pet cemetery in the United States. And it’s not like Eric’s mom was making that up just to make Eric feel better about “the big move” from Ohio to Long Island. Because, duh, nobody is going to get all pumped up just because there’s a big cemetery in your new hometown, stuffed with dead cats and dogs and whatever else people want to bury. Were there pet lizards, tucked into little felt-lined coffins? Vietnamese potbellied pigs? Parakeets? People were funny about pets. But burying them in a real cemetery, complete with engraved tombstones? That was a new one on Eric. A little excessive, he thought.     As the boy drew closer, Eric could see that his shirt was torn. Ripped along the side seam, so that it flapped as he ran. And . . . was that blood? There were dark red splotches on the boy’s shirt and jeans (crazy to wear those on a hot August afternoon). Maybe it was just paint. The whole scene didn’t look right, that much was sure. No one seemed to be chasing after the boy. He had come from the far side of the school and now traveled across the back of it. The boy’s eyes kept returning to the corner of the building, now one hundred yards away. Nothing there. No monsters, no goblins, no ghosts, no thing at all.     Eric walked to his basketball, picked it up, tucked it under his arm, and stood watching the boy. He still hadn’t spotted Eric, even though he was headed in Eric’s direction.     At last, Eric spoke up. “You okay?” he asked. Eric’s voice was soft, even gentle, but his words stopped the boy like a cannon shot to the chest. He came to a halt and stared at Eric. The boy’s face was pale, freckled, mushy, with small, deep-set eyes and a fat lower lip that hung like a tire tube. He looked distrustful, a dog that had been hit by too many rolled-up newspapers.     Eric stepped forward, gestured to the boy’s shirt. “Is that blood?”     The boy’s face was blank, unresponsive. He didn’t seem to understand.     “On your shirt,” Eric pointed out.     The boy looked down, and when his eyes again lifted to meet Eric’s, they seemed distant and cheerless. There was a flash of something else there, just a fleeting something in the boy’s eyes: hatred.     Hot, dark hatred.     “No, no. Not . . . bl-blood,” the boy said. There might have been a trace of a stutter in his voice, something in the way he paused over the “bl” consonant blend.     Whatever it was, the red glop was splattered all over the boy’s pants and shirt. Eric could see traces of it in the boy’s hair. Then Eric smelled it, a familiar whiff, and he knew. Ketchup. The boy was covered with ketchup.     Eric took another step. A look of panic filled the boy’s eyes. He tensed, stepped back, swiveled his head to again check the far corner of the building. Then he took off without a word. He moved past Eric, beyond the court, through a gap in the fence, and into the cemetery.     “Hey!” Eric called after him. “I’m not—”     But the ketchup boy was long gone.Excerpted from Bystander by James Preller.Copyright © 2009 by James Preller.Published in 2009 by Feiwel and Friends.All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Editorial Reviews

"Preller has perfectly nailed the middle school milieu, and his characters are well developed with authentic voices. The novel has a parablelike quality, steeped in a moral lesson, yet not ploddingly didactic. The action moves quickly, keeping readers engaged. The ending is realistic: there's no strong resolution, no punishment or forgiveness. Focusing on the large majority of young people who stand by mutely and therefore complicitly, this must-read book is a great discussion starter that pairs well with a Holocaust unit." -School Library Journal, starred review"Bullying is a topic that never lacks for interest, and here Preller concentrates on the kids who try to ignore or accommodate a bully to keep themselves safe. For Eric to do the right thing is neither easy nor what he first wants to do, and the way he finds support among his classmates is shown in logical and believable small steps. Eminently discussable as a middle-school read-aloud, [with] appeal across gender lines." -Kirkus Reviews"Preller displays a keen awareness of the complicated and often-conflicting instincts to fit in, find friends, and do the right thing. Although there are no pat answers, the message (that a bystander is hardly better than an instigator) is clear, and Preller's well-shaped characters, strong writing, and realistic treatment of middle-school life deliver it cleanly." -Booklist"Plenty of kids will see themselves in these pages, making for painful, if important, reading." -Publishers Weekly"An easy pick for middle school classroom and school libraries, this book is a worthy addition to collections focused on bullying and larger public libraries, especially those with an active younger teen population." -VOYA"If Judy Blume could write a book about Little League, about its players' deepest fears and secret dreams, it might come out something like this." -Publishers Weekly, starred review on Six-Innings"Dishing up a rare example of a character-driven tale that is also suspenseful and exciting, [Preller] chronicles a magnificent championship game between two Little League teams that is as much about the players as the plays." -Booklist, starred review on Six-Innings"Following the play-by-play builds suspense and brings the reader right into the action and the special world of baseball and the people who love it." -Kirkus Reviews on Six-Innings"A tale of baseball, friendship, growth, and coming to terms with hardships, this fast read will grasp any reader who enjoys sports." -School Library Journal on Six-Innings"This is a book whose emotional pull creeps up on you, pitch by pitch....Like the boys on the field and in the press box, readers will feel this is a game to remember." -Shelf Awareness on Six-Innings