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Diary of a Witness
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Kirkus Reviews

Hyde portrays high school as downright frightening, a place where socially elite bullies are given free rein to torment the less fortunate with impunity. And for different reasons, both the bullies and the bullied tend to follow a Mafia-like code of silence, which compounds the problem. Yet it is not a world entirely without hope. Morality exists, wise relatives can be called on and respect can be gained. In this viscerally disturbing tale, fat, unathletic Ernie Boyd and his geeky, acne-covered friend Will Manson are routinely humiliated. As the situation escalates, Will, whose family is so toxic that it should be labeled with a skull and crossbones, begins to crack under the pressure. Ernie, who is more centered, partially because he is bolstered by caring relatives, is then called upon to make a moral decision. Overall, the story is engrossing, and it compassionately depicts the ever-increasing fury of Will, a warty but understandable character stretched to the breaking point, as he slogs through the hell known as high school.