Comin 2 gt u


By Simon Packham

Sam Tennant is reasonably happy at school and doesn't have much to worry about – until his character in a game he plays online is killed in the first chapter. But then, the two who kill him refer to him by his real name instead of his computer persona, and he realises that virtual life has just become very nasty indeed.

What follows is a gripping, horrible, and yet totally believable description of an online and offline bullying campaign carried out against Sam by other Year 8 pupils as he tries desperately to identify the mysterious 'Emperor', who sets up a hate site against him and leads the nastiness. Desperately trying to stay strong in the face of their malice, he's left with just two friends, shy Abby and nerdy Stephen, as his dad is away from home, his mother's tied up with a difficult work case, and his dying grandfather has dark secrets of his own which he needs to share with Sam.

This novel is a distrurbing and revealing look at the current trend of cyber-bullying. The dislocation of reality and perception, of what is current and past, is fundamental to the story. This is illustrated by the incongruity of squashing together iPods and Smartphones with hand-typed memoirs, and 30’s Jazz and also for the amalgamation of its pivotal themes: child mental health, bullying and self-acceptance.

The novel also highlights the difficulty for parents of managing bullying, either on or offline and illustrates the danger of careless words spoken that can have a huge impact on a child’s perception of him/herself and the world around them. It will also give parents an education in text shorthand – which is bound to need translation by a teenager at some point!

A terrific gripping and multi-layered story which will stay with the reader for a long time.

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