Sally Christie’s middle grade debut is a fantastic and relatable novel of loneliness, unlikely friendships and the catastrophic effects of bullying.
Alex, like so many adolescents, goes to school every day plagued by the fear of being tormented by his peers. In order to deal with this fear, Alex has devised a simple strategy that he believes will minimize the effects of the bullying: Don’t react. Don’t let them get a rise out of you, don’t let them see the hurt and anger they cause, and you just might get away unscathed. This is Alex’s strategy, and he believes it’s foolproof. However, one of his classmates, David, holds the opposite strategy and suffers the consequences that Alex fears. Because of this, David is the last person that Alex wants to get involved with. However, there are variables at play that are out of Alex’s control, and when a mysterious message about a flying boy starts to travel through the school, Alex sets out on a journey to unmask the culprit, and along the way he will have to break out of his comfort zone in ways that he never thought possible.
This is a classic story that adults will recognize as part of their past, and that kids will find comforting as they enter into the stage of their lives when fear and bullying are often a daily reality. Heartbreaking in its honest and unflinching depiction of the pain that often accompanies the adolescent years, The Icarus Show ultimately offers the most encouraging message of all: You are not alone.