Bullies like Me
By: Lindy Zart
Publication Date: 2016
Genre: Young AdultI received an ARC from Lindy Zart in exchange for my honest review.
If you can make it out of Enid High School alive, you can make it through anything.
Alexis is the new girl at school, and she’s ruthlessly bullied. Hopeless, and drowning in her present reality, she takes pills—lots of pills. She’s sent to a mental health facility, where she meets a boy. Only the boy can’t save her, and no one can save her from herself.
Nick has secrets. He wants to open up to Alexis, but there’s the dead boy who haunts him. In his dreams. While he’s awake. He wants to be brave, but he can’t tell her about his past, and he can’t leave the facility.
Melanie rules over the school, until a nobody named Lexie tries to disrupt her reign. She won’t allow that. She also can’t stop it. She plummets into notoriety, but she’s determined to take them all with her. The girl, the boy, and their secrets.
This is absolutely my favorite Lindy Zart book thus far. Her words are real, empowering, and fear-inducing at the same time. Lindy tells the truth, whether we want to hear or it not, voicing what needs to be said in a world battered and broken. This book is not just another for the shelf. It’s a confession, a confirmation, and a lesson. This book will stay with me for quite some time. As soon as I finished this book, I had to take a moment to breathe. From the very first page to the end of the author’s note and closing my Kindle app, my heart was jumping at a rapid rate; I’m certain my neighbors could hear the intense drum beating in my chest. Lindy slayed me with this book. I got it. I felt it. I believed it.
I don’t typically highlight in the books I read, but there were so many that struck me. Lindy’s word choices are deliberate, each one a note to a very somber song that loops in your head long after the radio shuts off.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started this, but quickly found myself buried in the pages, engrossed in each character’s story and point of view. I felt Alexis’ inner demons trying to claw their way out, Nick’s darkness twisting and pulling, and Melanie’s persistence and blindness.
I’ve dealt with bullying. Not to anywhere near the extent of this book, but I remember taking on the role of the “bully to the bullies” in junior high. I didn’t actually bully anyone, I simply stood up for those who were being bullied. I distinctly remember two times this happened. I remember one of my friends walking down the hall between classes, a massive stack of books in her arms. This girl was someone often found at the butt of someone’s joke. I was across the hall from her, going to my next class, when I saw another kid, infamously known for being a jerk, walking up to her with intent written across his smug face. His hand went up into the air, and I remember hurrying across the hall to stand in front of him, a blockade, staring up at his six-foot-plus frame. “Don’t even think about it.” Standing over a foot shorter than this bully, I felt to height difference, not rank difference, no fear. And he backed away. I don’t know what happened after that. I just remember the books staying in her arms. The other time I remember is when I was walking through the school after hours, waiting to go to some activity, or perhaps just leaving one. Two of my male friends were about to fight each other, or maybe it was a friend of mine and someone else. Whatever the case, we were in a stairwell, just us, no one around for what felt like miles, and suddenly they were going at each other. Shoving this way, pushing that, fists flying, words and spit spewing. Without thinking, I jumped in the middle of it and split them up. Just me.