By Jeff Erno
This collection has seven short stories about gay teens and bullying.
"In Invisible, the bullying victim's voice is heard. Chase Devereaux is fifteen, and he's terrified when he has to give a speech in his oral communications class. To make matters worse, though, he has a really hard day when he falls victim to an episode of merciless bullying in gym class.Worst of all, his humiliation is witnessed by the boy of Chase's dreams.
Chuckie is told in the voice of the bully. David is a high school jock, one of the popular kids, and he's annoyed by the pathetic weakness and vulnerability of his classmate Charles. It seems natural to David to flex his superior muscle in front of the little wimp and remind him who's boss. When David discovers that Charles shares a connection with a mutual friend, David begins to see things in a whole new light.
Bryan Daniels is the narrator of Blending In, the story of a gay teen who stands idly by while one of his openly gay classmates is repeatedly bullied. Bryan feels sorry for Chris, but on some level he thinks perhaps Chris' openness and flamboyance make him an obvious target. Perhaps Chris is really asking for it and is just getting what he deserves. Bryan doesn't want to get involved. It's too risky, because if he speaks up in defense of Chris, he may be the next victim.
Saved: Jonathan goes to a Christian parochial school, and his best friend is Curtis. The boys have been best buds since the seventh grade. Jonathan tells their story in Saved. As he begins high school, Jon aspires to fit in with the guys on his soccer team. When he witnesses his teammates tormenting his best friend Curtis, he knows there really isn't much he can do. In truth, Jon has outgrown Curtis, and he wonders why they ever were close friends to begin with. Curtis just needs to man-up and stop being such a wimp. It's not up to Jonathan to protect or defend him. After all, he's not his brother's keeper.
In Shame,Terri Tyler is a single mother of two teenagers. Her son Cameron has always been her pride and joy. Cam is artistic and sensitive, and his sense of refinement has always been something she's regarded as special. She also prides herself on her open-mindedness. She has gay friends and acquaintances, and is not the least bit prejudiced, or so she tells herself. When Terri discovers that her son Cam is being bullied at school, she becomes very concerned. Of course she is worried about Cam's safety and well being, but more importantly, she fears that maybe Cam's uniqueness is something more profound than merely a matter of refinement.
Different is the story of three gay teens: Caiden, Rick, and Tina. Each of them has battled their own demons and has learned to cope with the reality of being different from their peers. One of them, however, is far more vulnerable than the other two. Caiden lacks social skills, and he feels completely ostracized, which only seems to fuel the bullying that plagues him on a daily basis. When he reaches a breaking point, the other two have an opportunity to step forward and save him, but their efforts may prove to be too little and too late.
Kirby is not only gay but he's also overweight. It's not easy for a teen to cope with being fat, let alone also being homosexual. Kirby's okay though. He's learned how to put on a happy face and ignore the constant name-calling and teasing. The one thing that makes his life bearable is his best friend Tony, and Kirby leans on him for support during his darkest hours. Tony, however, doesn't seem to have the character to be the friend Kirby needs, and the results are devastating. Can Kirby find the strength within himself to rise above the bullying, or will he remain a perpetual victim?"
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