Best Book of 2011
For the first time ever, here is my pick for the best book of the year: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins. It is a non-fiction book about popularity and outcasthood in high school as well as what the author calls “the quirk theory”. We’ve all heard of mean-girls, jocks, nerds, and teen angst so often that it has become the norm. Recently, a new phrase is giving these terms more meaning: bullycide, suicide due to bullying. These days, most people seem to think it is only gay teens that are being bullied or worse, that any kid being bullied should just ignore it because “kids will be kids”. As a person who has experienced bullying, I know that the only way to “ignore” bullies is surrounding yourself with supportive friends. In the case of gay and straight teens being bullied, bullycide has occurred because they either feel that they are alone or they actually are alone in what they are going through. This feeling of loneliness can be the result of being excluded at school or feeling alienated because they are different from other classmates.
Taken from the author’s site:
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth follows several real teens who are different from their classmates:
- Danielle, The Loner, who has withdrawn from classmates since they persuaded her to unwittingly join her own hate club
- Whitney, The Popular Bitch, a cheerleading captain both seduced by and trapped within her clique’s perceived prestige
- Eli, The Nerd, whose differences cause students to laugh at him and his mother to needle him fornot being “normal”
- Joy, The New Girl, determined to stay positive as classmates harass her for her mannerisms and target her because of her race
- Mark, The Gamer, an underachiever in danger of not graduating, despite his intellect and his yearning to connect with other students
- Regan, The Weird Girl, who battles discrimination and gossipy politics in school but leads a joyous life outside of it
- Noah, The Band Geek , who is alternately branded too serious and too emo, yet annually runs for class president.
All these teens are given a challenge in the middle of the school year to change their circumstances without changing who they are. By doing this, they will prove the quirk theory, which states that the qualities that cause them to be ostracized in high school will be the qualities that people admire in college and beyond. While the reader follows the characters, they will also be given a look at the science behind popularity and outcasthood as well as famous people who demonstrate the quirk theory. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or a student, anyone who is involved with teens should read this book.
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