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Poison Ivy by Amy Goldman Koss

Poison Ivy

by Amy Goldman Koss

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This is the story of Ivy, a girl who has been bullied all her life. In American Government class, the teacher decides to do a mock trial, a civil one that includes a real life scenario. Somehow it is decided Ivy is the plaintiff taking on the three bullies who made her life especially traumatic. Her attorney is a shy girl who does her more harm than helps. One defendant represents herself while the other two have a more competent classmate on their side. It is an interesting and quick read, combining the judicial system with bullying with an unexpected outcome. The legal aspect could have and should have been done better. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Nov 26, 2015 |
When a girl who has been bullied for years decides to bring the three tormenters to their government class for a trial, the case exposes the frailties of justice when the class is made to participate.

The good: with short chapters and easy to understand language, this is a good book for reluctant readers who find the premise intriguing. It's a fast read, more middle grade fare with YA subject matter. The set up premise makes sense as well. Victimized Ivy never really makes herself sympathetic and is mostly passive, which helps in setting up the reasonableness of how this longstanding abuse has gone on and why so many classmates turn a blind eye to it. The chapters alternate between different POVs, showing how the personal desires and motivations can interfere with truthful findings.

The bad: for those who wanted a more nuanced or complex story hinted from the premise, you will find the set up promising but most of the characters behind them as one-note: the space case, the painfully shy one, the self-preservationist, the upstanding serious one. The plot hinges on a lot of failures of the kids, who are either ineffective or sycophantic (and the only one who takes it seriously sounds too much like an adult to be realistic, not to mention being conveniently removed from pulling a Twelve Angry Men with the jury pool). The continued sham of a trial compiles these problems, bringing with it a suspension of disbelief that never holds enough sympathy or character development to bring about a satisfactory resolution, guilty or innocent. ( )
  gaisce | Sep 24, 2013 |
Since she was 9 and moved to this town, Ivy has been bullied by her classmates. Ann, Sophie, and Benita have been calling her "Poison Ivy" for so long, she doesn't even think of herself as just plain Ivy anymore. Now things have come to a head, and their Government teacher kicks off a mock civil trial, bringing the Evil Three up on charges. Students are chosen as lawyers, judges, jury, and other positions, the trial commences. If the Evil Three are found liable for the harassment, they'll need to apologize in writing and leave Ivy alone. But their liability hinges on Ivy's lawyer's ability to prove what everyone knows.

This is really more about the trial--and mistrial--and the quest for justice than it is the bullying, but it's still a worthwhile conversation-starter. I'll be including it in my short list of Potential Titles for 8th Grade Summer Reading.

[Warning: there are THREE bad words in the book, and I'll confess they're gratuitous--a kid called "pin-dick," plus one "ass" and one "dick." Not an issue to me, but the middle school administration might feel differently.] ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
Very boring at the begging. I couldn't read it. ( )
  Eri89 | Sep 23, 2012 |
Interesting style of writing to have so many different points of view describing the same event.
  toddphillips77 | Dec 4, 2009 |
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In a government class three popular girls undergo a mock trial for their ruthless bullying of a classmate.

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