Zebby Bower wants to be a journalist, which is why everyone at Truman Middle School is surprised when she quits the school newspaper over an issue of censorship. She decides to start her own paper, where people can say what they want without administrators’ input. She elicits the help of her best friend Amr, a computer whiz, and they begin an online newspaper which they hope will allow students to tell the truth about Truman in an intellectually-challenging way. Things don’t go as planned, though, when anonymous posters start saying nasty things about a popular girl named Lilly, which prompts the devastated girl to run away.
Zebby and Amr don’t know what to do—they feel responsible but they didn’t post the entries and people have a right to say what they wish, don’t they? In the name of fair reporting, they allow the posts to continue as the perpetrator or perpetrators escalate the attacks. Zebby and Amr briefly turn on each other as suspicions and tension mount and the whole school and then parents get involved. The story alternates between Zebby, Amr and other members of Truman as narrators, giving this story of cyber-bullying different perspectives, all believable. It’s a tale of middle school cliques, popularity, bullying and friendship, and also introduces the ethical dilemma of free speech versus responsible journalism.
Posted by: Cindy