Reviews for Alliance

Booklist Reviews 2013 July #1
When Scott's gay best friend commits suicide, Scott, who knows the boy was bullied to death, decides to form a gay-straight alliance "to make sure this didn't happen to anybody else at school." In the meantime, Carmen, who is an out and proud lesbian, receives a death threat and decides, in turn, that she will start a GSA. In short order, the two form an alliance working together toward their goal. But it won't be easy. Carmen continues to receive threats, and Scott, who is straight, finds his reputation on the line. Worst of all, theirs is a conservative school and community. Will the two be able to overcome bigotry? Told from their first-person, alternating points of view, The Alliance is a smoothly written, accessible story of two brave and sympathetic teens who struggle to overcome odds. This volume in the Surviving Southside series is an excellent title for reluctant readers and is sure to spark discussion in GSA groups and in the classroom. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
In a series opener that reads like an LGBT Bluford High, out-and-proud Carmen teams up with oblivious jock Scott to start a GSA after his best friend Jamie is bullied into suicide. The issue is given formulaic packaging, but this hi-lo problem novel is a gap-filler, and Carmen and Scott's developing friendship is engagingly thorny and complex.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #2
After the suicide of Jamie Ballard, a gay teen who was being bullied, two very different students at Southside High try to start a Gay-Straight Alliance. Like other installments in the Surviving Southside series, this one delivers a short, focused plot without sacrificing characterization. Two different characters narrate alternating segments: golden-boy football player Scott King, who was Jamie's best friend, and opinionated, out lesbian Carmen Mendoza. As Carmen and Scott try to collect the required number of petition signatures to create the club, each runs into obstacles. Scott's football friends refuse to express interest in "that fag group," and other students remember Scott's own acts of bullying too keenly to trust him. Carmen, well-liked among a variety of social groups, encounters resistance among teachers, including a sinister assistant principal who subtly insults her in an effort to discourage her from starting the GSA. When the two finally unite, the club seems poised to get off the ground. A parent group's last-minute intervention, however, puts the club on hold, a believable turn of events that nevertheless makes the story feel unresolved, particularly given that there is no indication that the new "neutrality policy" will be addressed in The Fight (2013), another Surviving Southside volume. A brief, believable and sobering look into bullying and school bureaucracies. (Fiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 November

Gr 8-11--After Jamie Ballard commits suicide, senior Scott King decides to try starting a Gay-Straight Alliance at his high school, in memory of his friend. Unfortunately, his past reputation as a bully catches up with him, and his former victims, as well as his homophobic football teammates, make it difficult for him to get the requisite petition signed by the student body. Meanwhile, Carmen Mendoza, who is out and proud, starts to receive threatening notes in her locker and on social media. Although she is the daughter of two supportive lawyers, she has a reputation as a troublemaker because of how she dresses and behaves in school. When she wants to form an alliance, she is rejected by administrators, who say that she cannot handle the additional responsibility. With the nudge of a caring teacher, Scott and Carmen reluctantly team up to start a GSA and confront the bully who was going after Carmen. As seen too often in real-life situations, conservative parents get to the school board, and the project is put on hold. Reluctant readers of this timely and realistic novel, told in alternating chapters, will cheer on Scott and Carmen and may even be inspired to take action at their own schools to form a GSA.--Lindsay Klemas, JM Rapport School for Career Development, Bronx, NY

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