Jordie''s cousin Todd has moved back to Montreal and is attending Jordie''s high school. Todd has autism and requires an aide. Todd has not been welcomed in the school. He''s known as a freak, and even other parents seem to resent Todd''s special needs.
Jordie does everything he can to distance himself from his cousin, fearful of what his friends might think. When he learns that Todd''s whole family is buckling under the pressure of a hateful letter, Jordie starts to question his own behavior. But Todd''s resources are unique, and he soon finds a way to prove his worth to his peers and to the community at large. Inspired by real-life events, Hate Mail examines the transformative power of speaking out against prejudice.
"Polak's collaboration with the students gives the story an authentic feel, eloquently capturing the attitudes of many teenagers toward issues of status, peer pressure, special needs and bullying. Inspired by a true story, this is a candid portrait of the struggle teens (and others of all ages) encounter when they are confronted with difference. Polak delivers a p0werful message about hate, prejudice and the power of acceptance and standing up for what is right. Written in an accessible style that never sacrifices the story, the book will appeal to young readers at a variety of reading levels." -- Canadian Children's Booknews
"An accomplished narrative with unexpected turns. Enlightening and educational without being overtly didactic. Well-made characters in an interesting situation driven by good dialogue and a good narrative ear attuned to its chosen audience. Polak deals with a very sensitive topic and conveys a very strong message about speaking out against prejudice." -- Jurors' remarks from the 2014 Quebec Writers' Federation Prize for Young Adult and Children's Literature (Hate Mail won the prize!)
"The book is reader-friendly and draws to its satisfying conclusion without being bogged down in technicalities. And if Monique Polak and her group of grade 9 student author/editors had a mission to inform teenage readers about autism and bullying, and the trickle down effects its has on people in a direct and indirect manner through the pages of Hate Mail, they have succeeded tremendously." -- Montreal Times
"This book shows how a young person learns to deal with autism and depression. Just doing the right thing and standing up can bring about change. This book is a quick and easy read. Young readers would especially enjoy it." -- Library Media Connections
"Hate Mail is a timely and topical story about bullying, prejudice, human justice and finding the courage to act in the face of it all.... This is a highly recommended novel for every school library and classroom collection." -- Resource Links
"Prolific YA novelist Monique Polak has penned a compelling read with Hate Mail.... Polak's well-paced novel encourages teen readers to consider the prejudices at play in their own lives, and to find the courage to stand up for what they believe is just." -- Montreal Review of Books