Words have power. We all know that, but in this digital age, sometimes we lose sight of just how powerful our words can be when we don’t have to face the person on the receiving end. This is a lesson learned the hard way by the kids of Branton Middle School in John David Anderson’s novel, Posted.
A crude, disrespectful text message about a teacher is the final straw that ushers in a zero-tolerance cell phone ban. For Frost and his group of friends, this isn’t the end of the world. Frost doesn’t even own a cell phone.
Deprived of their primary form of communication, other students pick up on the Post-It Note messages that Frost and his friends occasionally exchange on their lockers, and soon every locker in the school is being inundated with them. At first, the messages seem innocuous, mostly doodles and harmless jokes. Soon, kids discover the power of anonymity and begin using the Post-It Notes to bully others.
In the midst of all this, Frost’s tight-knit group of guy friends is invaded by newcomer, Rose Holland, a stocky girl who wears worn-out clothes and doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that she is a target of someone’s cruelty because of her appearance. Rose and the boys must navigate the usual middle school challenges of bullying, changing friendships, and growing up while also enduring an all-out Post-It Note war.
This book is a must-read for tweens and young teens who are figuring out who they are and who their “tribe” is. The main characters in the story all have been given nicknames that reflect one of their interests or accomplishments that they are slightly ashamed of, but throughout the story they support and encourage each other to embrace the things that make them special. The book also doesn’t shy away from the fact that sometimes owning your uniqueness means that you will lose friends. However, that can be a mutually amicable decision and it doesn’t mean that you may never speak to or be friends with that person again.
There are many coming-of-age lessons to be had here, but perhaps the most important one of all is that words have the ability to either build up or tear down. Whether it’s a conversation, a text, or a Post-It Note stuck to a locker, your words aren’t traveling out into a void. Someone is reading or hearing what you say and those words have a lasting effect. It is up to you whether it’s a positive or negative one.
There’s also a lot to love here for anyone who enjoys more quiet, “nerdy” pursuits, as Frost and his band of misfit friends are into things like Dungeons & Dragons, poetry, and music. Hand this title to kids who love to read about school issues, such as bullying, friendships, and fitting in.
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