Book Review: Inventing Elliot

Inventing Elliot by Graham Gardner

(Click on the book cover to find out which libraries own it.)

SUMMARY: Teased by bullies in his old school, Elliot is determined to reinvent himself at his new high school by donning a cool, unflappable exterior. Ironically, the 14-year-old's aloofness earns the interest of an elite group of bullies, known as the Guardians, whose members target school losers for punishment in cruel and ritualistic ways. In this psychological drama, the outwardly congenial Guardian leaders, who are never seen "in the company of actual violence," recruit Elliot using control tactics adopted from their favorite book, George Orwell's 1984. Not as a victim, though; they want Elliot to become a Guardian. (adapted from the SLJ review)

OPINION: At one time or another, probably everyone has wished for a chance to start over at something. And, some days, starting over at a new school really does sound like a good idea! Elliot decides to make the most of his chance, and completely changes his outward appearance and demeanor at his new school. But, he goes too far the other way, and becomes untrue to himself. The psychological story builds up to a dramatically realistic conclusion. This book is an interesting study of the "self" we present to the world versus the "self" we are on the inside. My only complaint is that Elliot never read 1984. If he had, he would see how the Guardians were completely misrepresenting its message!

RECOMMENDATIONS: If you liked this book, look for:
  • Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn
  • The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
  • The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci

1 comment:

Abi said...

Inventing Elliot is a book about a young boy ... called Elliot Sutton.
He was once known for being a nobody. Elliots' fed up with himself and so as he moves to a new school he finds a chance to reinvent himself.Summoned by a group of bullies, The Guardians as they are known ... Find Elliot unbarable to the rest of the crowd. They see potential in him and therefore arouse him into a meeting where he has to make a life or death decision. What will Elliot do? Constantly, Elliot refers to himself as dead ... this really makes you think about how Elliot may be feeling. Could you compare it to your own feelings you've experienced one time or another?
I reccommend this to everyone who likes surprises, this book left me in suspense and it was a real page turner. Clearly for ages 12+.