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Kathy Greenberg
The Bully Solution

Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Fourteen-year-old Audrey Wood has more balls than a baseball team. Eccentric on purpose with light-saber wit, she’s a Wikipedia addict, a connoisseur of single-color-palette wardrobes, a sly-dog sleuth, and a budding social advocate. Her home is the second floor of her dad’s animal hospital in Louisville, KY, though she’s not allowed to tell anyone she lives above the kibble and kennels. Also, she’s secretly in love with her best friend, Jason, the soft and sensitive target of high school bullies. After head flushing escalates to a public ass-kicking, Jason is hospitalized with a broken arm and spirit. When no adult steps in to stop the abuse, Audrey uses intelligence, backbone, and her brother’s help to concoct a safe but effective solution. The results are no less than explosive.

*****5 Stars*****The protagonist Audrey is wittier than Holden Caulfield, way more honest, and just plain delightful - in spite of herself. I mean she says gross things and even gravitates towards them, but she is such a hoot that you want to stay with her determined efforts to free her beloved Jason from the clutches of the brutish bullies who torment him. I suppose the moral of the tale is that creativity might be the best solution to stop bullies, but my favorite feature of this YA book is getting to listen to Audrey think and speak. I have to think teens would thoroughly enjoy being around her too.


****4 Stars****This novel is aimed at tween/teen readers, and I think the main character, Audrey, with her sharp wit and interesting observations about life will engage young readers. Audrey's best friend Jason is in a tough situation with bullies as he enters high school. The fear and problems surrounding this will resonate with readers of many ages. Audrey's friendship and how it is complicated by her best friend being bullied is a story that young readers can identify with, and Audrey's search for a solution for Jason and other kids who've been targets will be satisfying to tweens and teens.  

Reedsy Discovery

*****5 Stars*****

If a book could achieve perfection, The Bully Solution might be vying for one of the top spots. Filled to the brim with excitement and written in a stream of consciousness, this book is an action-packed coming-of-age high school story involving bullies, the bullied, and an extremely satisfying revenge. 

Protagonist Audrey Wood’s best friend and long-time secret crush, Jason Vronsky, is bully fodder. Determined to help, she tells off his bullies and inadvertently makes things worse for him. Jason gets publically pummelled and hospitalised, but Audrey discovers that the adults around her are shockingly cavalier about taking the bullies to task. Along with her brother, she takes matters into her own hands and teaches the bullies a lesson they will never forget. 

The book is written from Audrey’s point of view, which is the reason why the book is as big a success as it is. She is a well-crafted character: sassy and a hoot, with a quirky fashion sense to boot (“a practicing monochromatist”, she calls it). She is headstrong and somewhat impulsive, yet she is also well-meaning and a character you cannot help but root for.

Author Kathy Greenberg’s witty and polished prose comes with no superfluous drama and the story flows from scene to scene with alacrity. Despite navigating a serious subject like bullying, the book keeps its punchy pace and uplifting tone for the most part. The bullying itself is written about sensitively, although its climax is violent. Greenberg is a master at making readers involved with the story and has been very astute with delivering the comeuppance – planting the idea of it in our minds early and leaving us hanging with anticipation until we finally partake of the joy of its execution. 

The Bully Solution is most suitable for younger teens, although I enjoyed it despite being well over that age range. With a compelling protagonist and a karmically perfect storyline, there can be no better satisfaction than reading this gem. --Meera Perumal