So, bullying. 50% of young people in the UK when surveyed by Ditch The Label said they have bullied someone before. 30% do it once a week. I think one thing that most people can agree on is that bullying is despicable.
Jess is that girl. You know the one. The one who gets bullied by someone else because they’re seen as inferior. And Kez thinks she’s better than Jess and everyone, especially since she’s got that hot new boyfriend. Jess isn’t going through good times as it is, but she’s extremely happy when someone actually decides to stick up for her. But she’s not sure it’s a good idea that that someone is Kez’s brand new boyfriend. That party could be the end of the world for Jess.
7 Days is a miracle of a book. Let’s just start with that, shall we?
In a way, it’s minimalist. It doesn’t have an over complex plot, and it doesn’t have that many characters, and it’s not massive: it’s around 250 pages long. But make no mistake: it’s small but mighty.
This is the first book on bullying that shows both the side of the victim and the side of the bully. The story is told in a dual perspective (one chapter is Jess’s perspective, the other is Kez, so on and so forth) but the book shows that in bullying, there isn’t always just one victim. Jess is obviously suffering with the bullying, but Kez is also dealing with family problems, and later in the book we learn that her friends aren’t up to what they seemed like before either. As a past victim of really quite horrible bullying (I’m free of it now, in case you wondered!), I really like the fact that someone finally understands that there isn’t always just one victim with bullying.
Rather than learning about characters individual traits, we learn about character backgrounds. I like the fact that we learn more about the character backgrounds, but I would have liked to know a bit more about the characters themselves.
I also think aiming to fix bullying that’s ongoing in 7 days is a bit ambitious: some people never leave the cycle of recovering from bullying. But the way the story handles the recovery process is inspiring, and reflects that the end to bullying is something different for everyone.
This book is really hard-hitting, and if you love novels that know how to tug at emotional strings then 7 Days is for you. But even if you don’t, it should be on your to-read list because I think people will be talking about this one for a while to come yet.