Them by L A Weatherly

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Them by L A Weatherly

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: Painfully realistic depiction of child abuse and bullying, but with a wonderful message of redemption.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd.
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1-78112-209-9

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Some authors have a talent for writing so vividly and realistically, the reader can feel as if they are actually there, experiencing the events first hand. L A Weatherly is most certainly one of these gifted authors. The question is, with subjects as difficult as child abuse and bullying, do you really want to feel like you are there in the flesh? This book literally had my stomach in knots and at one point I actually broke into a sweat. The author does not go into graphic detail of the physical abuse, but she goes into very graphic detail of the emotions involved with such realism, it is almost difficult to believe this is based entirely on fiction. This may be a short story, but it is one of the most intense books I have ever read, and the author manages to capture in a limited amount of space more than most novels do.

Kylie and her family had a prosperous upper middle class life - until the day Kylie's stepfather nearly beat her to death. Forced to flee, they ended up in a shelter, and are now trying to start life over with a very different set of circumstances. Kylie's Mom is working and exhausted, they live in a run down flat, and the money barely stretches to covering groceries - and as Kylie's little sister keeps reminding her - this is all her fault. Pressures build up with strange phone calls. Could Kylie's stepfather have found them? And of course there are the usual difficulties of starting a new school and trying to make friends.

Kylie was bullied at her previous school. She is determined that things will be different this time, and she knows just what she has to do to be accepted. She plans to make friends with Jaz, the most popular girl in school, who also happens to be a heartless bully. Kylie has a chance to make sure she is never bullied again - but only if she becomes a bully herself. When Kylie first moved in she met a neighbour boy who has tried to befriend her. He is kind, sweet, and as we will find out far more courageous than anyone would have given him credit for, but Kylie can't see past the spots on his face, or the fact that he is into things like science and reading - he isn't one of the cool kids. So if being cruel to him is the price she has to pay to be part of the in crowd, so be it. But how far will she go?

This book tackles some very controversial subjects, and I can't say that I completely enjoyed the book. This is difficult book to read. The author has perfectly captured the anguish Kylie is going through, without ever justifying what she has done to hurt others. I do feel that this book might be traumatic for current or past victims of child abuse, and I almost rated down for intensity of emotion this story can elicit. But in all honesty, it isn't really fair to rate an author down for being too good. but while this book is very stressful and dark at times, it has an absolutely beautiful ending. This carries an extremely powerful ant bullying message, but there is a lot more to it than that. It is book that offers hope and redemption.

Them is part of Barrington Stoke's line of books written specifically for children with dyslexia. These books follow all of the guidelines of the British Dyslexia Association for dyslexia-friendly text. Working with a team of experts in the field, Barrington Stoke have developed their own font which is especially designed to make reading as easy as possible for children with dyslexia. They also print all of their books on a thick, off white, non-glare paper to minimise distractions which can make reading more difficult. The print is large and double spaced, with short chapters and short stories created to build confidence. The stories are commissioned by Barrington Stoke, usually from very well known authors, and are written to appeal to older children, but at a much lower reading level than the interest level. This book is listed as a reading age of eight, with an interest age of teen. I feel this book would also appeal to adults as well, and this is something that I would especially recommend to parents of children who have suffered child abuse, and adults who work with these children.

If this book appeals then we can also recommend:

Falling by Cat Clarke

Brock by Anthony McGowan

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi and Denise Muir (translator)

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Buy Them by L A Weatherly at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Them by L A Weatherly at


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