This is the year that the Raider’s football team is finally going to go to the state championships. It is a lot of pressure, especially for Matt Rydek, co-captain of the varsity team. It could mean a full scholarship to college and his dad finally getting off of his back.
All the guys have been lifting weights and juicing up on steroids all summer. All of them are looking forward to Raider’s football camp, an intense week of intense training, learning new plays and not thinking of anything but football.
If it hadn’t been for the new kid, Chris, it would have been like any other year. If Chris hadn’t shown off in front of the older players…If he hadn’t been there in the first place…
But he was there and Matt had seen the horrible things they had done to Chris that last night in camp. Now everyone wants to forget it, to bury it. A good captain always does what is best for the team. At all costs, do what is best for the team…
Let me start by saying that this books ends really badly. It’s not a spoiler. It is in the first paragraph of the book.
[Read the first paragraph of the book.]
When it all started, they all thought it was a good idea, or at least a harmless one. Even the school principal was on board. Coop, Young and the Bobster always went along with whatever schemes Rob Haynes came up with. He was the leader of their group of friends and one of the most popular kids at school. The plan was to take Simon Glass–an overweight, awkward nerd–and make him popular. It was just the sort of challenge that Rob loved.
But what they didn’t count on were the lies, manipulation, the secrets that would be uncovered. And worst of all, they didn’t know what Simon himself would do.
It all started one morning before school had even started for the day. Piddy Sanchez had just moved to a new school after she and her mom moved across town from their old apartment. A girl she barely knows comes up to her in the hallway and says, “Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass…” She has never even heard of anyone named Yaqui Delgado, and she definitely doesn’t know what she could have done to make her mad.
Piddy was trying to keep a low profile. She already has enough to deal with–new school and trying to fit in and keep up with her classes, her best friend who just moved to the suburbs, and trying to hold down a job after school because she really needs the money. And worst of all, Piddy has never met her father and her mom refuses to give her any details about who he really was.
But after that morning, as the harassment from Yaqui and her gang start to escalate, Piddy learns what it’s like be a target for a bully. She learns what it’s like to have an enemy who can make all her other problems seem easy by comparison, and who can make her life a living nightmare.
Gray Wilton keeps telling himself that everything is going to be different this time. After he was suspended twice in middle school for carrying a knife, Gray’s father moved the family from Massachusetts to this new home in Connecticut. Not that they understood how bad the bullies had gotten in that school. He was just defending himself. His family hopes it will be a fresh start for them.
Gray makes a new friend, he is interested in a cute girl and he gets to play the drums in the school band, But then a few of the Varsity football players start picking on him and his friend Ross– relentlessly. Then his grades start to drop, his dad starts to check his backpack for knives and the bullying gets worse. Is there anything that Gray can do? He doesn’t feel like he has anywhere to turn because even the teachers turn their heads to the bullying because the bullies are football players.
He feels like he only has one option–one that involves his father’s semiautomatic pistol.