Destroying Avalon, by Kate McCaffrey

I stared at the email in disbelief, the skin around my mouth prickling in horror … I had to know what they were saying. I shut my eyes and clicked on the link.

When Avalon’s mum is offered a better job in Perth, Avalon reluctantly agrees to the move. Maybe it won’t be too bad in the city. But from her very first day at her new school, Avalon realises just how bad it can be. The kids at her new school seem to hate her, and soon she finds herself the focus of a brutal cyber-bullying campaign. Chat rooms and message boards are full of vitriol about her and her phone beeps regularly to deliver obscene text messages.

Avalon’s only support is a small group of friends – all also left out and isolated – who let her sit with them and offer her friendship. She is particularly close to Marshall, who is always positive and full of life, despite himself being a target for bullies. But is Marshall’s optimism just a front, and are either of them safe from the bullies?

Destroying Avalon is an insightful and confronting look at the modern phenomenon of cyber bullying, a phenomenon which is, unfortunately, growing in schools and workplaces. Avalon’s story is told in an honest and believable first-person voice, and will speak as much to teachers and parents as it does to teenage readers, who will recognise the accuracy of much of what happens at Avalon’s school.

This is an important book for teens and those who work with them.

Destroying Avalon, by Kate McCaffrey
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2006