Today we hear from Bookbabbler Sarah…
OTOLI by Bryony Allen
OTOLI – Have you been there? Social outcast Alice Turner went there to escape the constant bullying from the Populars. She is befriended by Jenny; an enigmatic waitress who seems to be stuck in the past. As the Populars begin to reap the wrath of a faithful friend, suspicions build in Alice’s mind. Why does Jenny keep mementoes that are four years old? And why does Alice feel that she is to blame for the downfall of her enemies? But friendship is a two-way deal as Alice soon discovers. After breaking her promise to Jenny, she faces a far worse foe than before. Alice is forced to make choices on which her future and that of others will depend; whether or not she knows it. Moreover, she will have to find courage to escape the ultimate bully – her best friend.
OTOLI is a tough and questioning story of bullying and the consequences of revenge. Although, a relatively short book, this is excellent and much better than I expected. It is haunting and really makes the reader think and engage with the characters.
The story revolves around three main characters; Alice, Kieran and Jenny and a group of bullies known as the Populars. Alice Turner is a year eight pupil at Stowton Middle School who has become a victim of bullying by the girl gang – the populars. Deeply unhappy, Alice finds herself wandering into a cafe called OTOLI that she has never noticed before. There she meets Jenny the mysterious waitress who always seems to be scrubbing the same table clean. Alice is initially excited to have a friend, but she soon realizes that this friendship may come at a price.
This book is quite short, so I don’t want to give anything away. However, OTOLI will leave you realizing the shock effects that bullying can have on people’s lives; both for the victims and also for the bullies. I also loved the supernatural twist to this book; it gives a whole new element to an otherwise very serious story. My only disappointment is the cover; it really doesn’t do justice to the excellent content.
OTOLI is an excellent read, which is both in depth and questioning. Can you work out what OTOLI means? Read the story and see if you can figure it out.
Thanks, Sarah, and thanks to the author for sending us a copy to review. You can find out more about OTOLI and Bryony Allen here, and buy the book here…