Getting What I Deserve

Young Adult - Coming of Age
98 Pages
Reviewed on 04/19/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emma Megan for Readers' Favorite

Getting What I Deserve by Rich Samuels is a must-read work about bullying and its effects on the victims. Thirteen-year-old Charlie and Mark were just casual acquaintances. They had known each other for a long time but had never become friends. When they started middle school, Mark began bullying Charlie. He even encouraged his friends to do the same. Charlie tried his best to avoid them, yet the teasing, the insults, and the humiliation only got worse despite Charlie's attempts to confront Mark. When the summer break came, Charlie thought that he could finally relax in peace. On the first day of summer vacation, Mark asked Charlie to be his friend. Did Charlie accept his worst enemy's offer of friendship, and what transpired?

Getting What I Deserve by Rich Samuels is a powerful coming-of-age novel that shows what it's like to be the target of someone who likes hurting others. This book teaches readers about toxic friendships, trust, and courage. The author draws attention to this sensitive subject and shows that bullying is a learned behavior. Many young readers will resonate with Charlie’s struggles. It will help them realize that if they ever feel afraid, intimidated, confused, controlled, panicked, criticized, or pushed around by someone close to them, that is not a person to be trusted. It inspires children being bullied to build up the courage never to let anyone push them around, make them think they deserve to be mistreated, and stand up for themselves. The incredibly suspenseful ending will haunt many.

Diana Lopez

Getting What I Deserve by Rich Samuels is about overcoming the obstacles of adolescence. The story focuses on Charlie and Mark, who have known each other since they were nine years old. At first, they were neither friends nor enemies. However, Mark's attitude changes toward his classmate when entering middle school. He begins to tease Charlie, which, in turn, leads other boys to bully him as well. Charlie becomes insecure and is afraid to talk about the situation. He even believes that it is his fault and feels unimportant. When the vacation begins, Mark seeks Charlie out to offer his friendship. Charlie struggles and doesn't know what to think about the abrupt change. Feeling unsure, he cautiously gives Mark a chance, still suspecting it's a cruel joke.

I liked Charlie for his emotional and psychological development because, although he doesn't feel brave, he is willing to face unexpected changes in his life. Rich Samuels' narrative explores themes of fear and the importance of friendship. Getting What I Deserve shows the effects of bullying and the significant influence of parents on the behavior of their children. I liked the story because it is narrated from Charlie's perspective, which helps readers understand him better. The plot is dynamic because it becomes more complex as Charlie learns about himself in unexpected ways. In addition, the author's naturalistic writing style brings realism to the story. Getting What I Deserve stands out as an excellent and touching exploration of the complexity of life and the process of growing up.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Getting What I Deserve is a middle-grade book by Rich Samuels. Charlie never really noticed Mark until Mark bullied him. It started off small but built into a day each school week dedicated to making fun of Charlie. As the school year closed, Charlie celebrated the idea of a summer without Mark's taunting remarks, but a knock on the door dashed his hopes. Mark stood on the other side, claiming he wanted to be friends, but his actions were confusing. Charlie was sure friends weren't supposed to make fun of you over your stuffed animals, insist you take a shower, or walk into a room unannounced, but he saw some of Mark's redeeming qualities, too. When he's invited to a cabin with Mark and his parents, Charlie learns the reason for Mark's behavior and faces a choice that may give him the ultimate revenge.

Rich Samuels conveys a heart-breaking tale that many people will relate to. Whether you bullied someone, were bullied, or care for a child who is bullied, you will see the effects of the intimidation. It's so tragic to read about Charlie's feelings as he hopes to gain Mark's friendship. This book would be a great conversation starter for middle schoolers to help combat bullying and explore the roots of the behavior. The author delicately hints at the reason Mark targets Charlie, letting the reader glimpse into Mark's family life. Thirteen-year-old Charlie grows during the story, and as his room reflects his maturity, so do his actions. Getting What I Deserve is a good selection for readers who enjoy realistic coming-of-age stories.

Carmen Tenorio

Getting What I Deserve by Rich Samuels is a story about Charlie, a thirteen-year-old middle schooler whose dad was no longer around and was being brought up by his loving, caring mother. He was constantly harassed in school by a bully named Mark who maliciously declared every Friday as Charlie Day and encouraged anyone in school to mercilessly humiliate Charlie. Summer vacation was the only relief for Charlie when school was out and so were the bullies. But to his surprise, Mark suddenly came knocking at his front door, asking Charlie to be his buddy for the rest of the summer break. Despite the trauma, depressing thoughts, and misgivings, Charlie realized that he was still desperate to have a friend. Would it be wise for him to set aside his grievances, trust Mark, and accept his offer to be mates?

Getting What I Deserve tackles the issue and the nature of bullying through a simple, well-written story that effectively portrays the dynamics between a bully and a victim. It is an easy read, but also an emotional one. In everyday language, the author uses familiar school and home scenarios and conversations to paint a painful picture of how bullying deeply affects the victim. This is seen through an action or a verbal statement that shows the harm this behavior can cause and is also the author’s way of demonstrating empathy and understanding. By showing the contrasting parenting styles between Charlie’s mom and Mark’s parents, the author also shows us the significance of character differentiation and learned behavior. The pacing is moderate, but Rich Samuel makes sure that, as the story progresses, the reader can anticipate the emotional build-up of the characters through their words, reactions, and behavior. Getting What I Deserve is an important book especially recommended for those who need insights into dealing with and understanding bullying, as seen from the point of view of both the victim and the bully.