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When cell phones are banned at their school, students start communicating through sticky notes left all over the school, triggering a wave of bullying activities in the wake of a new girl's arrival. - (Baker & Taylor)

When cell phones are banned at their school, Frost and his friends start communicating through sticky notes left all over the school before other kids start following their example, triggering a wave of bullying activities in the wake of a new girl's arrival. Simultaneous eBook. 75,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

With multiple starred reviews, don't miss this humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, social media, and the failures of communication between kids. From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day.

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.


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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* By eighth grade, Frost feels secure within his established circle of smart, relatively geeky boys, including Bench, Deedee, and Wolf, who know they can count on one other. But Rose, a new student with a tall, muscular body and an independent streak, unexpectedly joins their table in the middle-school cafeteria. Then Bench starts hanging out with his fellow athletes instead of the gang. Meanwhile, a school-wide cell-phone ban leads to the increasingly "twitchy" student body writing their messages, jokes, opinions, and insults on sticky notes and slapping them on each other's lockers for all to see. Bullying becomes more open, and matters come to a head when Rose challenges an intimidating middle-school thug to a suicidal bike race down a steep, wooded hillside. Written with understated humor and fine-tuned perception, Frost's first-person narrative offers a riveting story as well as an uncomfortably realistic picture of middle-school social dynamics. The author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day (2016), Anderson vividly portrays each boy in Frost's group, their intertwined relationships, and their individual responses to the changes that inevitably come. Initially not well understood by the narrator, Rose gradually comes into focus as an individual and an agent of inevitable change. This rewarding novel should resonate with many readers. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 5–8—Middle school can be rough, even for a tight-knit pack of 13-year-old friends. When the new girl, Rose, joins their table at lunch, things start to change in uncomfortable ways for Frost, Bench, Deedee, and Wolf. It certainly doesn't help that the sharp words and mean thoughts that used to fly around on cell phones, which have been banned, are now pasted on the school walls via sticky notes, out there for everyone to see. The eighth grade that Anderson portrays contains a good deal of hurtful words and somewhat muted violence spun from his memories of being "short and smart (but not that smart) and scrawny and often alone." Both the wit of the prose and the bullying described are sharp and speak to everyday situations in today's schools. Stylistically the novel is solid, with a repetitive emphasis on the power of words. Anderson creates crucial suspense as narrator Frost looks back on the events of the story. Regrettably, the book overhypes itself to a substantial degree: the "war" is not the advertised monumental conflict of competing sides but rather a significant backdrop for a couple of major incidents in the lives of the main characters. VERDICT A forceful book that focuses on bullying and the development of friendships in middle school amid exploration of the power of words. A good purchase for collections serving middle schoolers.—Erin Reilly-Sanders, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

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