cover image Rhyme Schemer

Rhyme Schemer

K.A. Holt. Chronicle, $15.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4521-2700-2

In this affecting verse novel, Holt (Brains for Lunch) traces 12-year-old Kevin evolution from bully to bullied while highlighting the solace he finds writing poetry. Kevin sees his peers as "easy prey" and feels all-powerful as "king of the seventh grade." At home, however, his distracted parents barely notice him, and his siblings either ignore or actively torment him. Kevin channels his feelings of inadequacy and aggression into his journal. Tension spikes when Kevin is suspended, and his main target, Robin, finds Kevin's journal; Robin uses Kevin's own words to terrorize and embarrass him, which turns school into a nightmare for him ("The days don't even separate anymore./ It is all just one long/ never/ end/ ing/ day"). An unlikely champion emerges in the memorable school librarian who sees Kevin's potential. Though some of the roots of Kevin's bullying come across as rather obvious and familiar, and the resolution too tidy, bullies, those bullied, and bystanders alike will be left with much to ponder. Ages 10%E2%80%93up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Oct.)