One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person—helpful, generous, and chivalrous—a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn’t recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.
Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can’t hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.
Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He’s attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before “the change.” Where he’d been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he’s a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.
Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his “superjock” former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan’s newfound virtue. And convincing Scott he’s genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott’s trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan’s obsession.
I have a point, so please bear with me...
If you have a box full of fluffy, yellow chicks and add a chick with a black spot on its head into the mix, the other chicks will peck the spotted chick to death. If it's different, kill it. Sad, but true. : (
So what does that have to do with this book? Well, it's exactly the same with high school kids and let's just say that our would-be hero, Bryan Dennison, woke up one morning to the startling revelation that he had been a real PECKER.
He had been one of those aforementioned yellow chicks (but not a very fluffy one) whose group had been responsible for constantly pecking anyone who they deemed as even remotely different.
But unlike the other Superjock peckers, Bryan sees how horrible he's been to pretty much everyone and wants to be better person. Someone who he can truly be proud of. As Gandhi taught and the book quotes, he wants to "be the change you wish to see in the world."
And, oh yeah, he's literally DYING to don a red cape to help give him courage while bettering himself. Like a security blanket of sorts.
Enter Scott Beckett, who was someone extremely important in Bryan's life until shortly before his overnight "change." Someone who Bryan wronged on more levels than simple words could ever express. But Bryan *must* make things right with Scott, no matter the cost.
This amazing story focuses a lot on proving through actions that you're a better person that you were, but also on being strong enough when you've been wronged to forgive.
Another aspect about this story that I really loved was that when one person, just ONE, stands up for what he knows is right, that often gives courage to others to band together and do the same. And that bad situations don't have to stay that way for the sake of maintaining the status quo.
--> Bryan to his Coach on getting along with his bullying teammates: “Coach, I’m only standing up for what I believe is right. I’m not gonna treat people like crap just for being who they are. And I won’t use my size and my status to push anybody around anymore.”
Plus, Bryan's antics were adorable and hilarious. It wasn't all angst and drama, so even though the topics were often very serious, the book was a funny and entertaining read as well. I highly recommend it.
So buy this book ASAP and to crudely paraphrase Gandhi, "Stop being a pecker!" : )
My copy of this book was provided by the publisher for a fair, unbiased review.
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