The Out Crowd

Young Adult - Social Issues
198 Pages
Reviewed on 04/02/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ever since childhood, Michael has had a constant urge to liberate stories from the realm of his imagination and share them with the world. Various tales and characters would nag at him from inside his head until he finally agreed to give them a new life by putting pen-to-paper or finger-to-keyboard. In time, he realized this meant becoming a writer.

In college he wrote articles for the campus newspaper. After graduating he tried out publishing on various blogs over the years. Now he has turned to books, with a focus on novels.

    Book Review

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.

K.C. Finn

The Out Crowd is a work of fiction featuring interpersonal drama and social issues and was penned by author Michael A. Kirby. Written for a young adult audience, the work contains some mild profanity but is generally accessible for the full age range of the intended reading audience. The action centers on teen protagonists Hallie and Isaiah, whose lives are turned upside down when their senior year of high school is swamped by rumors and misinformation. As they struggle to get ahead of the rumors and set the record straight, this only causes more confusion, and the whole social hierarchy of Gates High School is sure to come crashing down because of it.

The ins, outs and social intricacies of modern-day high schoolers are something that many of us may not fully understand, or indeed have tried to forget since leaving, so it’s both accurate and harrowing to be thrown back into the lion’s den by author Michael A. Kirby. The text sometimes feels really invasive of Hallie's and Isaiah’s lives, which fits perfectly with the tirades of gossip which they face and the rumors that threaten to suffocate who they really are. For a short read, there’s a lot of issues packed in, which makes this both an entertaining drama and a book that could be used as a valuable teaching aid to show kids how quickly conjecture and opinion can spiral out of control. Overall, The Out Crowd is an emotionally intuitive work and a high-quality teen social drama read.

Lisa McCombs

In The Out Crowd by Michael Kirby, when high school seniors Hallie Flynn, cheerleader, and football hero Joel Boudin take it upon themselves to flaunt their self-imposed royal ranking of the In Crowd, a horde of wannabes compete to be next in line. The school newspaper begins a gossip column at Hallie’s insistence, further dividing the student body at GHS and forcing the underdogs to create their own school rag in retaliation. It isn’t long before the Gates Times and the Gates Sentinel take precedence over academia that results in unprecedented campus regulations having nothing to do with mandated educational curriculum. When Hallie and Joel are unable to enforce their many rules of proper conduct, their henchmen Antenor, T-Bone, and Farouk (flunky former football players) use brutal force as punishment.

The Out Crowd by Michael Kirby brings a fresh twist to the theme of social class superiority. In this satirical take on high school life, the toxic environment ridiculed by reporters from both newspapers demands careful inspection. Michael Kirby uses realistic bully techniques common in many schools today. Two classes of students fight to expose the faults of the other, drawing attention to a dictatorship alien to America. As the desire for social acceptance runs rampant at Gates High School, literary symbolism fills the pages of this disturbing tale of two sides of the track. Fast-moving sentence structure and vivid detail keep the story moving steadily to a satisfying conclusion. Principal Terrence announces mid-way through the story: “As far as this toxicity stuff goes, though, it seems only right for me to step back and let you kids lead the way forward.” The nature of this comment adequately represents the faulty structure of empowerment in today’s society.