Series: Standalone Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Publication Date: May 2, 2017 Pages: 384 (Hardcover) Published By: Walden Pond Press Website: John David Anderson Posted on Goodreads My review copy: Received from the publisher via Jean Book Nerd tours in exchange for my honest review
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From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, comes a humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, and the failures of communication between kids.
In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.
When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.
In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.
Point is, none of us is alone. We might feel alone sometimes, but more often than not we are just lonely. There's a difference. We aren't alone because it's basic human nature to band together. Herd mentality. We are programmed to find our people.
But some things, I guess, you can't shy away from. Some things you just have to tackle head on, whether it's safe or not. Even if it means losing a part of you.
Posted is a heartfelt and sincere book about what it means to be a teenager nova days. It's about standing out in the crowd, being bullied and witnessing others being bullied, feeling lost and confused, but it's also -- or most of all -- about belonging, finding your tribe and having people in your life that really uplift you and make even the hardest days better, brighter and more hopeful. As someone who has experienced bullying in school first hand, I really appreciate this book. It's a wonderful reminder that despite middle-school being hell sometimes, we can all make it through. We can all get by with a little help from our friends. And as long as we stick together, we can do more than just survive -- we can be truly happy.
After an incident involving one student, her cellphone and a couple of unfortunate text messages caught by the teacher, cellphones are banned at Branton Middle School. The void created by the fact is quickly filled by a new form of communicating -- sticky notes. They're the new text messages now, and they're everywhere: left on the desks, slipped into backpacks, stuck to the lockers. Unfortunately, not all of them are harmless. Some can be mean and hurtful, and they're out there for everyone to see, packing an even stronger punch and causing more damage.
Caught in the middle of this mess are our protagonists: a tight group of misfit friends (Frost, Wolf, Bench and Deedee) and the new girl at school, Rose. Through the eyes of Frost, we watch the events unfold.We see how the friendship between the boys gets more and more strained as the new girl warms its way into their tight-knit circle; their tribe.
It's been a while since I've read a book that captures so beautifully and accurately the angst, comedy, drama, tragedy and exuberance of adolescence. John David Anderson does it so well. His characters are brilliant. They're perfectly imperfect and prone to making mistakes. They're all realistically flawed, but also kind of heroic in their hearts (especially Rose). Their friendship -- with the nerdy D&D sessions and quirky dialogs at the cafeteria lunch table -- is wonderfully realistic; so much that it made me think about my own friendships from middle and high school days. I found myself relating to these characters and the hardships they were going through, and I finished this book with a feeling of satisfaction. I was so pleased with the ending and so proud of the characters for doing what they did. It felt awesome.
Rose is a new favorite character of mine. She's so incredibly fierce and strong. She's different from all the other kids and she knows it. In fact, she wants to be different, she wants to stand out, she has her own style, she's bold, charismatic, unique and unstoppable. Most of all, she is such a wonderful friend. I want so badly to have a friend like Rose. She is there for you, not only in theory, but for real, even if it puts her own life and safety on the line. And she's so incredibly wise for her age. I absolutely adore her.
Overall, I feel that Posted is a book that gets it right. Regardless of the reader's proximity to his or her own high-school experiences. I grew up in Poland, I went to school there, and yet this book felt very personal on more than one level. I could relate to the characters -- to Frost most of all, but also to Rose, and even Wolf. In many ways, Posted feels timeless and I think it's well worth reading.
1) Welcome to Bookish Lifestyle, John! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit us today. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks for inviting me, Evie. And sure! Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lego collector.Chocolate fiend.Well-versed in Star Wars lore.Collector of nerdy t-shirts. Often wears socks inside out due to laziness. Once stepped on a hornet’s nest and was stung thirty times. Father of twins.Writer of novels.Baker of brownies.Believer in the basic goodness of humankind.
2) I found POSTED to be a very poignant and heartfelt story about bullying and the challenges teenagers face when it comes to communication and self-expression. As someone who experienced bullying first hand (in elementary school), I found your book incredibly insightful and relatable. Could you tell us what (or who) inspired you to write it?
POSTED was a personal book, based, at least emotionally, on my own experiences in middle-school—as a target, yes, but also as an observer of the cruel things kids can say and do to each other. I also remember keenly what it’s like to have friendships fall apart at that age. I think I took those emotional experiences and added my own current reflections on the power of language and a more contemporary youth culture where the avenues for bullying have multiplied, making it even harder to escape or ignore. At the same time, I also remember the solace I found in the friends I managed to hang onto, which I hope comes through in the book as well.
3) Frost, Wolf, DeeDee,Bench and Rose are all wonderfully crafted, realistic characters. Do you feel particularly close to either one of them?
Aw, thanks! I feel for all of them, certainly. Every one of them is struggling to define themselves and determine where they stand on the social hierarchy. Many of them have family issues. They certainly have issues with each other. This is the reality of middle school. I would love to say I identify most with Rose because she’s the wisest and most courageous of the group, but I’m afraid I see much more of myself in Frost, the struggling narrator who is never sure what to say or do, despite his poetic inclinations. Sounds like an average day of writing, come to think of it.
4) What is your all time favorite book? Which writer influenced you in your writing the most?
I can’t pick an all-time favorite—there are just too many. But the writer who influenced me the most is probably Kurt Vonnegut Jr.—not because I emulate his style (as if I even could), but because reading Vonnegut was when I first started paying attention to the beauty of language and the inner workings of fiction. Before Vonnegut I read mostly to escape; after Vonnegut I read to become a better writer, to see how all the pieces fit together.
5) What is the most memorable reaction you've had from a reader?
This past year I’ve gotten a tremendous response from adult readers of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, many of whom have shared their experience as teachers or as students of great teachers, as well as people who have lost loved-ones to cancer and found solace in the book. It’s humbling and heart-warming to hear that my book in some way pays tribute to such outstanding, courageous people. Of course, I still can never get enough of the eleven-year-old kid who says one of my books is the best he’s ever read. I know I won’t hold the title for long, but it’s nice to hear!
6) What can you tell us about the book you're working on right now?
It’s a lot of fun. It’s about a fairy and a wish she just can’t manage to grant, despite all her efforts. I think it’s hilarious and hair-raising and heartfelt and should appeal to anyone between the ages of 8 and 80. Also it has a talking dog who loves doughnuts.
About the Author:
John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked, Minion, Standard Hero Behavior,The Dungeoneers, Ms. Bixby's Last Day and Insert Coin to Continue. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He does not wear ties but will wear sandals in the snow. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, putting off the dishes, watching movies, and chocolate. Those aren't his real teeth. Seriously. The middle four on top? Lost 'em in a car accident. It's all right, though, the plastic ones look nice and he can still eat corn on the cob.There are lots of ways to contact him. Telepathy, for example. Carrier pigeon. Alien distress beacon. Sky writing. Failing those, you can always e-mail him here. Be sure to tell him how his book has revolutionized your life, or, barring that, how you used it to smash a bug or something.
WEBSITE: http://www.johndavidanderson.org/TWITTER: @anderson_author
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