In Justin Sayre's third adjective-busting novel, Ellen discovers why it matters to be true to oneself, no matter what people might say or think about her.

Set in the same world as Justin Sayre's previous books, Husky and Pretty, Mean explores the private and public life of Ellen, who is confident, cool, and, according to Davis, mean. But if speaking the truth and being unconcerned with petty gossip makes you mean, Ellen is fine with that. Besides, she has her own issues to deal with as middle school becomes a virtual battlefield of pubescent zombies, not unlike the obstacles in the video games she loves to play. Escaping into the world of online video games provides only temporary relief. In time she learns that being honest, even when it hurts, is the only weapon she can truly rely on.

Book Details


  • Fiction

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up

Ellen is a brave 13-year-old girl living in Brooklyn, New York. As the date for her Bat Mitzvah gets closer, Ellen begins to worry about what kind of woman she wants to be. When everybody in school starts to change their looks and personality to fit in with the crowd, Ellen stays true to herself and her personality. One of her female role models is her mother. Ellen feels that her mother focuses more on others than her. In fact, Ellen’s parents begin having fights because her dad is angered by the fact that her mom is never home.

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