Like Toney Allman’s nonfiction title Mean behind the Screen (2008), Polacco’s powerful picture book dramatizes how online abuse has intensified the cruelty of bullying. New to her school, Lyla links up with Jamie, another new kid in her sixth-grade class, and they become close friends. Dramatic line-and-watercolor artwork shows the two outsiders in the lunchroom, excluded by the geeks, the nerds, the toughs, the sports kids, and especially by the “celebrity” table of the most popular girls. After Jamie gives Lyla good advice about getting a cell phone and a laptop and helps her create a Facebook page, she feels more connected. Then, though, Lyla becomes so cool that the popular crowd invites her to sit with them––but only if she breaks from Jamie. And she does, until they show her what fun they are having humiliating her friend on Facebook with cruel images and insults. After Lyla stands up to the “celebrities,” they take ugly revenge. Kids will recognize the charged scenarios of anger and hurt and the seething contemporary middle-school social scene. Great for group discussion. Grades 3-7. --Hazel Rochman
"The artwork realistically portrays—through their body language and wonderfully expressive hands—what these youngsters are feeling. Polacco captures the insidiousness of cyberbullying. . . . Will spark intense and much-needed discussions."
(School Library Journal)