Just End It
Set in Whangārei, thirteen-year-old Jessie’s story of struggling with cyber-bullying makes her a good role model for young readers, and also functions as a useful ‘how-to’ manual for surviving bullying. Her emotions and responses are dealt with well, and there are some great moments where she finds support from friends and family. While it deals with some major topics such as bullying (including taunts that she should ‘just end it’), and a major character does die, these issues are sensitively dealt with.
Jessie’s story is interwoven with that of Hine, a young daughter of a Moa hunter with whom Jessie converses in her dreams. This brings a whole new element to the story, introducing valuable ideas around tikanga which are mirrored in Jessie’s burgeoning friendship with Mia in her waking life. In the classroom, this would segue nicely into richer discussions of Aotearoa’s past, and how we can uphold aspects of Māori culture.
I felt it would be a good read-aloud story for primary schools, with the writing a bit basic for older students. It’s a good, quick read with a lot of ideas to unpack, with great potential for class discussion. The fact that there seems to be a sequel in the works also adds to its appeal for younger readers.
Title: Just End It
Author: Donna Blaber
Publisher: Light House
Publication: August 2020
Age: Upper primary/Intermediate
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? Yes, bullying, death
Would this book work as a read aloud? Yes
Where is the book set? Whangārei
Reviewer: Sarah Parry, English teacher at Kāpiti College, Kāpiti Coast
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening Sentence: It was all the rock’s fault.
You can buy this book here