Editor’s note: Maria, a librarian at the East Cobb Library, is sharing with us this book review as part of her ongoing series of books pertaining to bullying. This is such an important topic for so many teens and their parents. This week, Maria brings us a review of “Freak” by Marcella Pixley. Have questions for Maria? Contact her at the East Cobb Library at (770) 509-2730.

freakMiriam, aka “Freak,” is in 7th grade. She has a lot going for her…she’s determined, smart, creative, writes poetry, but all she sees when she looks in the mirror is a girl with long stringy greasy hair and a large nose. On the other hand, her older sister Deborah who just started High School has grown into the kind of “pretty” that makes you instantly popular and eligible to join the “in” crowd. Miriam is definitely not part of her middle school “in” crowd. She is tormented and bullied by “The Watermelon Girls,” specifically Jenny who just plain makes her life miserable.

I really enjoyed reading “Freak” by Marcella Pixley because of Miriam. She has a lot of guts. I liked her. Some of the other characters, though, not so much. At first, Deborah is portrayed as being full of herself, but part of it is that she was just like “Freak” not that long ago. In some ways, she’s easy to hate. She is enjoying being popular and has no problem letting Miriam know that she does not belong in her new and improved world. As much as I wanted to hate her, though, I could also relate to how she felt. We all want to feel accepted and like we belong, and Deborah does come through when it counts.

Miriam’s parents annoyed me. They are extremely proud of themselves for being “different.” Unfortunately, they totally forgot what it felt like to be a teenager, and Miriam feels she can’t talk to either of them about what her life is really like. She knows they wouldn’t understand.

There is one character that I really liked, Rosie, Miriam’s best friend. A friend who sticks with you no matter how ugly it gets??? That’s priceless.

So how does Miriam tough it out against the Watermelon Girls? Ask for Freak at your library. And remember, if it is not available at the time, just put it on hold and we’ll get it for you.

Freak By Marcella Pixely