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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In The Out Crowd by Michael A. Kirby, at Gates High School, the pupils are separated into two groups; the In Crowd of just 69 pupils and the Out Crowd. Hallie Flynn, senior cheerleading captain, becomes the victim of gossip when information about her relationship becomes public knowledge. As she tries to quell the rumors, her actions make the gossip even worse. Hallie believes she has the answer to make Gates High School less toxic. At first, her plan seems to be working but, as time goes on, the line between what is acceptable behavior and what is simply people's points of view becomes blurred. Hallie's obsession to rid the school of toxicity becomes out of control and soon both the In Crowd and the rest of the school have to decide what is truly important to them.
The Out Crowd by Michael A. Kirby offers a well thought out and creative plot. The storyline moves along consistently, unraveling the powerful message layer by layer. The moral behind the message is both relevant and thought-provoking. I thought the reasoning behind Hallie's actions was admirable at first but slowly her argument becomes diluted as common sense and democracy are lost. The alarm bells were sounded as a reader when Hallie commented about the importance of being anti-toxic rather than factually accurate. This is so realistic in how many media outlets and those in power seem to feel in today's society. The author has created each character with the utmost consideration and the way they interacted with one another was very realistic. I would love to see this novel in a school library, as I feel the subject matter will spark an interesting debate. This book also encourages young people to have their own thoughts and opinions which is essential. The author has clearly done a lot of research into his subject and executed the message perfectly.