Friday, July 3, 2009

On the Spotlight: Bubba and Giganto, by Lea Schizas

Today I'd like to feature a middle-grade novel by author and editor Lea Schizas. The book, Bubba and Giganto, is about an important subject: bullying.

To find more about this wonderful writer and all her work and sites, please visit her Website. Bubba and Giganto is available from Amazon, B&N, 4RV Publishing and The Reading Warehouse. I hope you'll enjoy the blurb, review and first chapter excerpt.


Bubba hates it when his dad gets a contract for a new project. That means uprooting the family from one city and moving to another. Attending a new school is a major pet peeve of his. His smart alecky nature attracts the bullies in every school he’s attended.

On the first day of school, Bubba bumps into this rather large student. Fearing a confrontation, he wears his tough guy attitude and waits for the punches to begin. Remarkably, the new student apologizes, and Bubba and David (aka Giganto as Bubba eventually nicknames him) become best friends.

Bubba and Giganto try out for the high school soccer team, and that’s when trouble begins. Bubba knew eventually he’d meet the bullies of the school, and he was right.

In the first initial weeks, Bubba learns about a death that occurred the previous year; faces the bullies on several occasions; helps Giganto practice soccer before tryouts; and challenges the bullies to a scrimmage.

Little does Bubba know Giganto holds a secret - one that will place Giganto in a deadly situation.


What reviewers are saying...


Lea Schizas has written another page turner. Once I started reading about Bubba and David, AKA Giganto, I couldn’t stop. Before I knew it I’d read the whole story. I’m so glad I did.


Bubba (yes, Bubba, not Bobby or Brendan) Jacobson, tough guy, smart mouth, sensitive heart, and David (Giganto) Montana, nice guy, picked on by bullies, big and clumsy, are the least likely of friends. But when they meet on the first day of ninth grade a remarkable friendship is formed.


This is Bubba’s first year at Pierson High, and he’s delighted to discover they have a soccer team. Questions arise, however, when Bubba and David try out for the team. Why does Mr. Ambrose, the gym teacher, tell Bubba not to push David (Giganto) into something he doesn’t want to do? What is the secret about the boy who died during a soccer scrimmage the previous year? Is David (Giganto) connected to the tragedy? And why is Jason, all-star athlete with an attitude, so determined David doesn’t make the team?


Ms. Schizas is a master at surprise endings. Just when you think you know all the answers, she changes the questions with an unexpected twist or two. I never saw this one coming.


Themes of bullies, soccer, friendship, and forgiveness are woven through this short story, making it one boys can relate to and will enjoy reading. I recommend it for reluctant readers, children who perhaps are facing their own bullies, and also for sports lovers and everyone who enjoys a fast-paced book with continuous action.


--Reviewed by Beverly Stowe McClure, children's author


Excerpt...


Chapter One

Ever wonder if parents really listen to you? Try adding, “and the alien

scooped me up and see their reaction. If they turn around and look in a weird way,

they paid attention. My parents just say, “Uh-huh, that’s nice, dear.

But I’ve gone off topic here. My story has nothing to do with parents but

everything to do with accepting a challenge.

Starting at a new school and meeting friends is hard, really hard. Factor in that my

parents decided to name me Bubba - not Bobby, not Brendan, but Bubba - and anyone

can understand why I hate going to any school. This would be my fourth nightmare in a

brand new setting.

Anyway…

Getting off the bus, I bumped right into this huge student. Couldn’t avoid it. The

kid, who must have been over 200 pounds, hogged the whole sidewalk. His oversized

blue T-shirt looked more like a tent. Well, call me silly, but I turned to the circus freak

and told him, “Move out of my way.” Almost in slow motion, he started to wobble out of

my path.

As I tried to pass, he yanked me back by my collar. My gut told me I may have

made the biggest mistake of my life.

Putting on my ‘tough guy’ face (the gnarly grin and uplifted eyebrow),

I looked him squarely in the eyes. “What’s up?” I asked, while my legs screamed RUN.

Anticipating a nasty hit on my body, I squeezed my eyes shut.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to block your way.”

Unsure if my ears heard right, I opened one eye and checked where his pudgy

hands were. Although the tone of his voice sounded angelic in my head (with both

eyes shut), I may have mistaken sarcasm for sincerity. To my astonishment, his hand

waited for me to shake it in greeting. The other hand held on to his brown leather school

bag. It reminded me of what a spy carrying Top Secret documents would use.

“My name’s David Montana,” he said, clasping my hand in a tight grip and

shaking it. His ‘tent’ wobbled with every shake, rattle, and roll he did with my hand. A

childish grin spread across his cherub features.

“H-hey. I’m B -” No way would I tell him my name in front of everyone

circled around us expecting the first fight of the school year. “Nice to meet

you.” My racing heart resumed its normal beat. I’m not normally the queasy and

frightened type of a guy. I’m usually smarter in the sense I pick fights with guys my own

size. So knowing my body would continue its healthy state, I let out a very inconspicuous

sigh.

Besides, I felt lower than a deflated punching bag for thinking him a circus freak.

Everyone dispersed once the warning bell rang, obviously disappointed I didn’t

get my teeth knocked out. My newfound friend and I entered the ugly, red brick building,

similar to all my other schools. I wonder if it’s like a secret school code to keep schools

as monotone as possible in order to have students remain nice and quiet … well, bored is

more like it.

I looked around and felt like puking. The walls, lockers, doors, ceilings -

everything was clean, not a mural anywhere, made me a bit nervous since every other

school had those artistic imprints. Those schools allowed their students to decorate the

walls with paintings and feel at home. So, I wondered if I had just stepped into boot

camp or what, because it was blaringly obvious to me the kids here either had no artistic

qualities or the school’s administration felt they shouldn’t decorate the walls. Great!

Could this day get any worse?

Yes. I couldn’t help but feel as though I walked in a dank tunnel. Then it hit me as

I looked around. There were no windows. The only sunlight streamed from the corridor

windows. I stopped for a second and peeked inside a classroom. No windows. Yikes.

Even the Titanic had more windows.

“Yio, David.” I ran to catch up with him. “What’s up with the lack of windows?”

“Oh, you’ll get used to it. We really don’t notice. Students are less distracted.”

“Yeah, but how will we know when we’re nearing an iceberg?”

He looked at me as though I was off my rocker.

“Never mind.” I didn’t feel the need to explain my weird sense of humor to him.

David and I hit it off. Six foot plus David, and five ten and a hundred-sixty-five

pound me shared every single class. Luck knew I would need David somewhere down

the line.

And, boy, was Luck ever right.


***




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1 comment:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Bullying is definitely something that happens in every school, whether they admit it or not!

L. Diane Wolfe
www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
www.spunkonastick.net
www.thecircleoffriends.net