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Description - Inventing Elliot by Graham Gardner

After being bullied mercilessly, Elliot is determined to reinvent himself when he moves house with Mum and Dad and goes to a new school. He is going to be so cool that no one will touch him. He's going to stand out just enough not to get noticed. But he is too successful, and he does get noticed by the Guardians. They are a mysterious group of three who manipulate others and run the school with a reign of terror. They invite Elliot to become one of them. He faces an agonising decision, whether to use this new found power or risk standing up for himself and facing the consequences.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781842552087
ISBN-10: 1842552082
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 131mm x 15mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
Publish Date: 1-Jan-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Inventing Elliot by Graham Gardner

UK Kirkus Review » Graham Gardner's first novel is a powerful account of the horrors of bullying, and how one young boy takes dramatic steps to cope with an increasingly desperate situation. Inspired by George Orwell's 1984, Inventing Elliot examines the nature of evil, the lust for power and the moral dilemmas faced by many adolescents when under excruciating pressure to conform or suffer the consequences. Brutally beaten up by bullies at his old school, Elliot knows he must find strategies to survive when he moves to Holminster High. First impressions seem hopeful - Holminster is a traditional school, with a long history of academic and sporting achievements, graceful buildings and beautiful grounds. But Elliot is not fooled for a moment - from the first day he adopts a different persona, reinventing himself as someone cool and detached, disinterested and above all inconspicuous. His suspicions are all too soon proved correct: a classmate is cruelly humiliated in the showers; fights are staged where no marks are left on the victim's body; notes naming the next victim mysteriously appear on the school noticeboard. Elliot attempts to keep a low profile, ignoring the horrors around him, maintaining his new, cool image. But others are watching him, others who want to use him for their own ends. The gang behind the wanton abuse and cruelty, The Guardians, have had their eyes on him for some time, and he is invited to become one of them. His plan to re-invent himself has backfired - now Elliot must join The Guardians or risk his own safety by exposing them. Gardner not only deals with the perennial problem of bullying in a new and compelling way, but also tackles many of the other issues that beset adolescents. Elliot has a complex relationship with his parents - embittered towards his father who has been severely depressed since a mugging left him nearly dead, he also resents his mother's constant tiredness and her apparent lack of interest in his life. Withdrawing deeper into himself, he only feels safe when all his worlds are kept separate - his friendship with Ben, one of the boys who is most brutally treated, his growing feelings for Louise, a girl in his class and his life as a trainee Guardian must never collide. But the strain begins to tell, and as his behaviour drives Ben and Louise further away he realizes he must choose whether to stand up to the Guardians or lose both his new friends and his self-respect. Ages 10+ (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Gardner serves up a suspenseful tale of a bullying victim who manages a transformation, not into safety, but into the kingdom of the bullies. At his last school Elliot was continuously threatened and beaten, and headed now into a new school, decides to do whatever he can to escape. His fear is palpable from the initial scene where he's beaten up and continues as he watches fellow victims in the new school succumb to the dominant group, the Guardians, as well as to other bullies-teachers and students. At home, Elliot's father is locked into an incapacitating depression, and his mother struggles with two menial jobs to support them. At school, Elliot's fear guides him throughout each day, until he makes all the correct moves to be invited to join the organized and hidden power mongers called the Guardians. Elliot's character changes as the story develops, giving readers the needed clues, amid nail-biting suspense, to the culminating event in the final chapter. References throughout to Orwell's 1984 add depth and keep readers thinking of the principles at stake when those with power abuse it. (Fiction. YA) (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Graham Gardner

Graham Gardner is the second of ten children. He has worked as a bookseller, waiter, civil servant and is now an academic researcher in the Institute of Geography at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, specialising in monitoring and analysing long term trends in the UK countryside. He is also a keen musician, playing rock and classical piano.

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