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Power and Control

Author Interview
Tom Wade Author Interview

Bully Boy follows a teen boy who has been bullied and abused for years, now he decideds to fight back and get retribution for those that caused harm directly or indirectly. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My idea for Bully Boy basically came from watching the constant real-life stories of physical and verbal abuse still plaguing our school systems. This abuse is being given the reason for a lot of kids acting out emotionally and sometimes tragically through shootings and suicides. And I’m asking myself why is this still happening in 2022? This was going on when we were kids and seems to continue from generation to generation without end, mostly because the adults of each generation can’t seem to control the problem, which is very controllable. It is a problem, admittedly a complex one, that can be resolved. What happens a lot is that the adults blame the kids and the kids blame the adults. Many schools today are doing a better job today addressing the problem, but others are not. So, thinking of all this, I decided to write a story about it.

Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into your character’s life?

I took a look back at my own school years, ages ago, when bullying was part of growing up and only addressed if something very serious happened. I wasn’t a victim as much as Henry Wilton was, but I remembered being a little bullied as a kid and seeing it as well and teachers not doing that much to stop it. But I also remember doing a little bullying, too. I think that’s normal growing up–getting bullied, doing some bullying. We all can take a little bullying. But it’s the constant, consistent harassment and belittling of one person or a group of people, daily, weekly, that leads to the emotional damage. And I find it hard to believe teachers and administrators don’t see some of that. I believe that after researching the subject and writing it for a while, my own anger about this ongoing problem worked its way into the writing.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Several important themes easily relate to this story. Power and control is certainly one of them. Who has the power and who doesn’t and how those dynamics work themselves throughout the school. We all know how that works, don’t we, and we never forget it and take it into adulthood. The themes of injustice and feigned ignorance are important in this story, as Henry tries desperately to bring some order to his life against people trying to avoid the real problem. The theme of how anger and rage can tear a kid apart. The theme of life and death is played out in the book, about how tenuous and uncertain both can be in the teenage mind. But, most important, accountability and responsibility. Who’s responsible and accountable for the abuse problems in a school system? Not just in a school, but the workplace, the home, and anywhere else.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Right now I’m in the planning stages of a novel, so nothing will be available for a while.

Author Links: GoodReads

Fifteen-year-old Henry Wilton has come to the end of his line. After years of harassment and humiliation, he now must change his young life quickly. He devises a plan that forces him to confront his debilitating fear and anxiety in order to defeat his enemies in school-not just the kids, but the adults who knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it. And he must fight this war alone. A story of growing courage, bitter retribution and final redemption, Bully Boy exposes the raw nature of school abuse, and human behavior, like few novels have done before.

Bully Boy

From the very first pages of this thought-provoking young-adult novel author Tom Wade paints a vivid picture of a teenage boy cowed and made miserable by groups of bullies who have victimized him for years. From the first day of the school year, 15-year-old Henry struggles against a system that is determined to keep him down. He gathers the courage to stand up to his oppressors and find retribution, but at a high price to himself. In the end he must make the pivotal decision about his own future — take the ultimate peace that his friends chose or continue to fight.

Henry might be terrorized by bullies, but he has had enough. He begins to stand up to the kids who are violent and abusive as well as to the apathetic adults who are shockingly willing to turn a blind eye. These scenes are heart wrenching but feel authentic. He is a smart kid, and he knows exactly how to push everyone’s buttons, and I enjoyed how sharp his character is. Gradually, readers see Henry change from one of the “meeks” to the biggest bully of them all. He provokes fights to prove his point and he browbeats his teachers into taking action. His character evolution is compelling and makes for an engaging read.

Throughout this enthralling coming of age tale is a simmering undercurrent of menace that will have readers on the edge of their seat. Has the system that failed him created a monster? And, if so, just how big a monster? On more than one occasion, Henry’s musings imply that he has been pushed too far and, just like his nervous teachers, readers wonder if he is going to produce the gun he knows is kept in his father’s desk. The dialogue is another real strength of this book and is used to great effect to both tell the story and build character.

Bully Boy by Tom Wade is an eye opening read that explores contemporary issues in schools with a captivating main character. If you enjoy gripping teen fiction novels that have something important to say, then this is a book you must pickup.

Pages: 294 | ASIN: B0B1NTV8Z3

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