Mar 4, 2013, Ari Magnusson (Olivander Press, 2012)
Length: 240 pages (paperback)
Genre: Children's Books
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
{Image source: here}

Stewart, a sixth-grade boy from Harrison City, hides from some eighth grade bullies in a pipe system underground and ends up in a mysterious world full of danger. Most alarmingly, there is no apparent way to get back to Earth from this place with no sun. The place is called Bitopia and Stewart has to find a way to help everyone escape.

A lot of times bullying is a situation that happens to kids daily, but which their peers tend to overlook, either because they don’t think it is very hurtful behavior, or because it doesn’t apply to them so it “doesn’t really matter.”

In addition, sometimes Anti-Bullying training is rendered, a bit, useless, because kids don’t know boundaries. When does playful teasing become hurtful bullying? I know that children are shown extreme cases, like one child pushing another child multiple times, but sometimes they really need to “see” an example like this book provides, and really get into the victim’s mindset (Here, it’s the main character), so they are able to stand up for themselves readily.

I loved this book, in all honesty. I really like how Stewart is in denial at first about staying in Bitopia, as far as he knew, for forever, because that is a really realistic portrayal of emotions.

Sometimes, people don’t really want to face the truth, and, although I don’t know whether real people do this or whether it’s just an overused scene in books, many authors choose to have their characters, I don’t know, “self-harm”—not very seriously, stuff like banging their heads against a wall and the cliché of pinching oneself—to apparently see if they were dreaming while something life-changing—for good or for bad—happened.

But there were some odd parts, too, like in the beginning when Stewart was running from the bullies, and he passed a construction site. When he arrived there the construction workers were still there, and then, very quickly, Stewart apparently realized they were putting their big machines away, and then they all deserted the place. It’s funny, when you realize that the whole thing probably only took about thirty seconds to one minute, judging from Stewart’s anxiety about being caught as the bullies loomed closer.

One of my least favorite characters was Lester, the really arrogant Chief Defender (protector) of Bitopia. I suppose that is a favorable reaction, because the author made Lester really difficult to like. He was very conservative and believed everything The Comlat, a sort of prophecy book, said. What’s more, he and Stewart were basically enemies, and it’s really hard to like the main character’s enemy.

Have you read this book and would like to share your opinions? Give me a comment below!

Helpful Links: The author's website, which includes a free study guide!