Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully by James Roy - Book Review

Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully is following a trend in children’s literature. Much like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (previously reviewed here), Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully follows the hand-scribbled diary format. Not that this is a bad thing. This trendy format is especially enticing to reluctant readers and preadolescent males, two groups in need of reading incentives. Add the convincing voice of Max Quigley to the format and you’ve got an enticing look at bullying from the bully’s point of view.

Max is an unreliable, sarcastic narrator. He thinks that just because he doesn’t physically hit anyone, he’s not really a bully. Max’s idea of a good time is picking on Triffin Nordstrom, or Nerdstrom as Max’s renamed him. But Max’s teasing goes too far causing Triffin’s mother and Max’s parents to form an alliance. Their concocted plan is twofold: educate Triffin in social skills while Max gets help with his slumping math scores. And even though Triffin may be a loner, he’s none-too-thrilled to hang with Max. This comes as a great shock to the ever-popular Max.

Author James Roy does several unique and successful things with Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully. He molds a character, one that could easily come off as unlikable, into a relatable, even if unreliable, voice. He sets the tale in Australia, which provides American readers a chance to learn some fantastic Aussie speak (Mum, mate, cheeky). He keeps the moralizing in check with short chapters, realistic dialogue and lessons learned through actions rather than telling. When Max begins to slide in the direction of empathy by the story’s end, Mr. Roy never allows Max to lose his core personality.

Recommended for readers who enjoy the sort of potty-humor associated with Louis Sachar or Dav Pilky, 4th – 8th grade males and reluctant readers.

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Genre: Realistic Fiction. Age: 4th -8th Grade. Pages: 208.

Themes: Bullying, Friendship, Humor
Thank you Picnic Basket. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Date: March 2009.
ISBN-10: 0547152639/ ISBN-13: 978-0547152639

Buy Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully Here

Houghton Mifflin Book Site

Author interview on Boomerang Blog

Book Trailer:

James Roy is an Australian author who likes to eat Thai food while watching Edward Scissorhands or maybe he likes to listen to Coldplay while reading Slaughterhouse-Five. You can figure out all his likes and dislikes on his website.
© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for

Review also posted for National Reading Examiner.