Nailed by Patrick Jones
“The nail that sticks out the farthest gets hammered hardest.” This describes Bret Hendricks to a tee: his long, green-tinted ponytail, his interest in drama instead of sports, and his aspirations for college in a blue-collar, working class family. Bret plays in a rock band with his two best friends, Alex and Sean, but can’t stop one of the school’s jocks from harassing him daily in his English class. It doesn’t help that the teacher doubles as a coach, and does nothing to discourage the continual taunting and sly physical bullying. He adores his quirky girlfriend Kylee, but is intimidated when she wants to sing with the band.
This gripping novel is told by Bret in the first-person perspective, making it immediate and hard to put down. He writes a debate speech in which he empathizes with the Colombine high school gunmen, and all heck breaks loose. “I said what happened at Columbine was terrible,” he explained. “But I also pointed out that how they had been treated at their school was wrong too. I said they were the first victims.” NOT what the principal wanted to hear! While Bret is a nonconformist daring to be different in what he calls a “jockarchy,” it’s easy to identify with the problems he faces as he tries to stay true to himself, maintain his self-respect and sanity, and forges a relationship with his emotionally distant father.