ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published February 21, 2013. Viking (Penguin). 259 pp.
When Celia is bullied in 8th grade by Sandy and Mandy, two popular girls, she decides to start high school as “Dark Celia.” Being dark means she has hardened herself, retreating into a shell cast by her dark clothes and attitude towards others. By hiding in her shell, Celia hopes to avoid being hurt. She spends her days writing poetry and planning secret revenge on Sandy and Mandy, but their continued behavior soon shows Celia that her darkness isn’t the shield she had hoped. She used to love English class in middle school, but having the girls in her class soon takes away even her one outpost of freedom.
Drake, the new boy from New York is fun, outgoing, and good at sports. They soon become close friends, and Celia learns he has a secret of his own. Sandy and Mandy aren’t happy about their friendship, and plan to make sure that both of them pay.
Finneyfrock clearly shows how bullying hurts. It is my hope that readers aged 12 and up will learn from Celia’s trials to realize the effects of bullying on others and not only stop their own bullying but realize there is a future if they have been bullied themselves.