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Description

OTOLI – Have you been there?

'Social outcast ALICE TURNER went there to escape the constant bullying from the Populars. She is befriended by Jenny; an enigmatic waitress who seems to be stuck in the past.

As the Populars begin to reap the wrath of a faithful friend, suspicions build in Alice’s mind. Why does Jenny keep mementoes that are four years old? And why does Alice feel that she is to blame for the downfall of her enemies?

But friendship is a two-way deal as Alice soon discovers. After breaking her promise to Jenny, she faces a far worse foe than before. Alice is forced to make choices on which her future and that of others will depend; whether or not she knows it. Moreover, she will have to find courage to escape the ultimate bully – her best friend.


The book was recently the stimulus for a UK writing competition from Movellas called 'Bullying, Both Sides Of The Story'. This ran during July 2012 and there were some great prizes won too.You can find out more and read the winning stories here: Bullying, Both Sides Of The Story


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BOOK TRAILER


The Story Behind This Book
My inspiration for writing OTOLI came from several sources: my children’s experiences of bullying, some of my pupils’ social awkwardness and my own feelings of ‘not quite fitting in’ both as a child and now. Writing OTOLI was cathartic, and I hope that will be the same for my readers who have been on the outside, looking in on society! OTOLI was originally created as a novella but following great feedback by a couple of readers critique sites many had commented that they wanted more from the characters so I adjusted the book to the point that it grew to the realms of the novel in terms of it's word count. The revised book in its novel guise was published by UK Independent publisher, Pneuma Springs (released 28th April 2011). I dearly hope the story will encourage more reading amongst the teenage age group, especially the reluctant reader. I also hope that all that read the book will take on it's messages but at the same same enjoy the gripping and entertaining read. OTOLI also came about as an antidote to books about dysfunctional families. That is not a criticism as most of those books are well-written, well-loved and they satisfy a need for some suffering readers. However, I feel that the young adult market needs to keep exploring new avenues; hence the idea of the paranormal manipulating real life. Please enjoy the reading sample and book video trailer loaded here.

Media Mentions

Praise and Reviews
Amazon Reviews so far

4.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 9 Oct 2012
(REAL NAME)   
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: OTOLI (Kindle Edition)
Wow, this book really took me by surprise. After the author friend requested me and recommended this book, I went onto the page for this book and saw that it deals with the sensitive subject of bullying. As an ex-victim myself, I just had to buy and read it.

OTOLI comes from the perspective of many different characters, although I would say that the main protagonist is Alice. Through the book, I begun to feel how isolated the bullying victims felt and they find that friend in Jenny who is a waitress at the cafe OTOLI. The book is well written for such a sensitive subject, I also thought it was original book, as Bryony Allen manages to bring in a twist of paranormal without ruining the main subject of the book. I could not put it down and I would strongly recommend it to anyone. I can't read to get right into more of Allen's work.

5.0 out of 5.0 stars  Do not let your child be next; Stop Bullying; this is the book to read., March 7, 2012
This review is from: OTOLI (Kindle Edition)
The author's description; the story revolves around three main characters; Alice, Kieran and Jenny and a group of bullies known as the Popular. Alice Turner is a year eight pupil at Stowton Middle School who has become a victim of bullying by the girl gang - the Populars. Deeply unhappy, Alice finds herself wandering into a cafe called OTOLI that she has never noticed before. There she meets Jenny the mysterious waitress who always seems to be scrubbing the same table clean. Alice is initially excited to have a friend, but she soon realizes that this friendship may come at a price

At times we depends upon and another and "depends upon" another, enough to manipulative some into convincing you to decide bad choices and live with regret. Or accept your intuition and go with the thought thinking this is not right and everything has to be done to stop it. This reader believes this author is trying to alert the world that bullying is very destructive and has severe consequences and it should become a priority to stop it from continuing.

What if you found a friend who accepts you unconditionally until the nagging doubts of something is not right here; We all been there, question do you continue the friendship or walk away, there is a fragile line when someone d and teenager life situations arise and choices have to be decided. Events and challenges arise and an individual is on the outside looking in and needs to choose between being morally right or immorally wrong and go with the peer pressure or rebel against it. This is such a story about bullying and how each character, Alice, Kieran and Jenny in the plot decides how to deal with the emotional consequences of being bullying.

It has a dark twinge with light humuor to balance out the drama. It speaks about friendships and some that isn't what it seems to be, causing little flicks of doubt to crept into the victim's conscious as the Populars , the high class girls of the school targeted the weaker students and taunts them to the point of desperation of becoming anti-social, and lose their dignity or push them over the edge to become obsessed with revenge. The plot thickens as the tables are turned and the torturers are bully; in strange incidents. The story is complete with suspense and mystery and "what if's" questions.

Alice, the main character and Kieran find that one special friend, Jenny who does not seem to judging them, just accepting them for their selves; as time passes they senses slight gestures and words from Jenny as strange and starts to think twice about their friendship; does she out of desperation of loneliness to accept her intuition and run as far away as she can or denial the lies and overlook the slight hints of some more sinister is at play here. She is caught in a cat and mouse game and will have to make tricky decisions. So will Kieran, their maturity will decide their fate.

I am an American and this book is set in the United Kingdom but bully is increasing through the world through social media outlets; Facebook, cell phones and other devices and to some it is a torture to be targeted and constantly whipped emotionally and physically, it erodes all self-confidence and destroys a bright future. The statistics for suicides and other escapes these victims suffer through are rising and this story is a realistic perspective that other teens and adults should read and utilize to open up a community discussion how to became an advocate and look for the warning signs of someone being bullied. All ages, diversity and genders are chosen as victims and it is on the increase.

This story is short, realistic and in touch with the realities of bullying and a describes a sensitive topic with an unique style.

I choose this statement off the Internet for I believe it sums up the description of OTOLI;

This book is quite short, so I don't want to give anything away. However, OTOLI will leave you realizing the shock effects that bullying can have on people's lives; both for the victims and also for the bullies. I also loved the supernatural twist to this book; it gives a whole new element to an otherwise very serious story.

It is a YA book, a supernatural and fantasy book for all ages and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the organization 'Bullying UK' which is a valuable reason in itself to buy the book and help stop bullying and save someone's life tonight. 


4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all high school aged children, 18 Nov 2011
This review is from: OTOLI (Paperback)
The first thing I felt when I began reading OTOLI was how creepy it was. I immediately felt extreme empathy for Alice and the torment she has to put up with but the second I met Jenny, I did not like her at all. Really really creepy and something just wasn't right, which of course is properly revealed throughout the course of the novel.

OTOLI is extremely fast paced and takes us on Alice's journey from being mercilessly bullied to seeing her tormentors suffer a terrible downfall. She can't understand how or why Jenny is involved but she's convinced she is and this is what makes it so creepy and unnerving. As well as Alice's story, we also meet Kieran who is by far my favourite character as he has the strength of character to understand what Jenny's about and works out exactly how to escape her friendship.

OTOLI is brilliantly written Jenny's character however unnerving and scary, is a fantastic creation although despite her past, I find it hard to feel any sympathy towards her due to the way she treats those chosen as her friends. The ending is particularly powerful and the sense that OTOLI is infinite is again, an unnerving thought.

Throughout the course of the novel it is possible to work out exactly what OTOLI stands for. Now for some reason, as my brain didn't want to work, I couldn't work it out whilst reading it but eventually came to it after some hurried tweeting in the direction of the author, who to her credit, refused to tell me outright so I had to discover for myself.

A fantastic novel which should could easily and should, in my opinion, become part of the PSHE education of children in schools.

4.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous book, 17 July 2011
This review is from: OTOLI (Paperback)
Stories which take a look at Bullying always interest me, especially books like OTOLI which looks at the effects bullying can have on a person. OTOLI looks particularly at the type of bullying I'm most familiar with - name calling and teasing. The saying "bricks and stones can break your bones but names can never hurt you" is a lot of old crap and OTOLI shows this perfectly.

It focuses mainly around Alice Turner who is being teased by the so-called `populars' in school. You know the ones, they are at the top of the social pyramid in school, their popular (goes without saying), dress in the latest fashions etc and they think that because of this they can treat anyone how they want to. The teachers in school don't do anything about it (even though they know it's going on) and so the remarks in class (and out) continue never ending.

I don't really want to say too much about the story as the book is so short (perfect length for the story) but it means that anything I could say about it might be something majorly spoilery and I think it's a book that deserves to be read and not spoiled.

The story is told mainly from Alice's point of view in short, sharp almost diary like chapters. We see how she feels, what she tries to do to avoid coming into contact with the populars and then one day she meets Jenny. I have to say that I didn't really trust Jenny from the off, there was just something a little... off about her if you know what I mean.

Another character we see from time to time is Kieran, in a way he reminds me of me when I was his age (and still am in many ways), he's shy and awkward and although we don't see nearly as much of him as we do of Alice I liked him immediately.

I really loved the way we see the teachers nicknames - a couple of them made me giggle stopping the book from becoming too dark. It's a book which could have been depressing and really tough to read, fortunately I think the tone is set just right.

Ultimately like I said at the start I think it's a book that deserves to be read, the only question remains is what does OTOLI stand for - I know but do you?

5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, superb teenage read that also highlights some important issues., 4 July 2011
This review is from: OTOLI (Kindle Edition)

I downloaded a copy of `OTOLI' for our Kindle following a few reviews I came across on the web for it via Goodreads and some Google listings in addition to some prompting from my girls after they had seen the book video trailer here on Amazon. I don't generally review many books but I had previously read an Adult fiction book by this author which I really enjoyed so I was more than happy to go get this one for my girls to read. My daughters (13 and 14 years) really loved the story of OTOLI. They connected with its characters (Alice and Jenny in particular) and in both their words 'they could really feel what Alice was going through and willed her to overcome the issues she was facing'. My 14 year old had to read it all in one go as she couldn't put it down (a masterful feat for any author to achieve where teenage readers are concerned I think). The book deals with the issue of bullying in a way they had never read before too which made the book all the more appealing to them. The book has used a supernatural element to the tale which really puts a different twist on the story but it was one that made sense as the story unfolded. Given that the author states in her BIO she is a teacher it is clearly evident that the subject and the effects of bullying in the school place is something she is more than aware of and maybe even an expert in.
In this story she has captured this really important subject in a considerate and compassionate but also entertaining way. Some reviews out there have stated that the book should be in every school library in the world. After reading the book myself I can see why they say this. OTOLI is one book as a parent of growing teens that I would completely recommend to anyone. The bullied and the bullies out there can all learn something from this book in my opinion (and my girls!). I don't want to put out any spoilers here as the book is one that won't disappoint in my view and I myself don't generally read teenage literature anymore (I'm 40+ but will admit to reading Harry Potter not so long ago!). One thing I did find out which I thought was absolutely nice was that 5% of all sales of this book are being donated by the publisher to the Bullying UK charity on a permanent basis too. It's superb to see writers and publishers out there looking past a profit margin and giving to such worthy causes. This book deserves to do very well throughout the world in my opinion, bullying after all is an evil that can affect anyone, anywhere in the world. I'm buying a copy of the paperback to keep at home on the shelf too. 5 stars to OTOLI from my girls and me too! :-)

Johnathan

5.0 out of 5 stars This book took me by surprise!, 12 May 2011
This review is from: OTOLI (Paperback)
This book really took me by surprise, it was definitely not what I was expecting at all. The book deals very strongly with the issues surrounding bullying, but within this book they take on rather a sinister tone that appealed to my dark side.

Alice Turner is seen as a social outcast by everyone at school, which puts her in the harrowing position of being a target of the school bullies, known as the Populars. They make her life a living hell. On one of her journeys home, desperate to stay out of their way, she comes across a little cafe called OTOLI. She wanders in to find a safe place to go and a new friend to help her deal with the bullying.

As their friendship grows, things begin to change at school. The Populars begin to lose out on the Popularity stakes and life begins to get easier for Alice. However, as the Populars suffer, Alice begins to wonder whether her friendship with Jenny is causing more harm than good. Alice has a feeling that the fall of enemies may be due to Jenny.

Jenny's friendship begins to cause Alice a lot of problems when she is unable to meet her friend's demands. Alice learns that if she is ever to grow stronger and move on with her life, she must face the bullies head on. She must stop Jenny from bullying her.

This is really quite a sad tale, where two young girls suffer from the devastating effects of long term bullying. Jenny has suffered just like Alice, yet she doesn't deal with it in a mature way, more hell bent on revenge than moving on. However Alice, begins to realise that revenge really isn't the answer. She finds an amazing inner strength, to overcome the obstacles she faces.

Jenny is an extremely interesting, if somewhat sinister character, whose secret past is slowly revealed to show the reasons for her behaviour. She believes she is being helpful and doesn't realise she is causing more harm than good. There is also another character, Keiran within the book who suffers from bullying too, however he seems to be able to stand up to Jenny better than Alice does.

The title intrigued me and the word does have meaning once you work out what the letters stand for, however that really isn't my secret to reveal!

Even though the book, is quite short, I found it moved at quite a pace, leaving me enthralled until the final outcome.

This book really hits home with the effects of bullying, showing just how it can escalate out of control, unless someone takes a stand. I know that it is a prime concern with majority of schools these days, but I cannot help but wonder if enough is being done. Bullying seems to me to be more immediate these days with bullies being able to victimize those chosen through mobile phones, email and Internet sites such as Facebook. I hope this book can help someone bring about change.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the organisation 'Bullying UK' which is a good enough reason in itself to buy the book. Luckily the book is an extremely good read too, so well worth buying. I was considering a giveaway for this book, instead I decided that I wanted it to go into a secondary school where hopefully it will be of use, so I am passing it in onto the lovely Emma Book Angel at Bookangel's Booktopia for her to put in her library.

If you know someone who is being bullied, yet struggles to talk about it, then this might be a good book to introduce them too.

5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, eerie and moving, 12 May 2011
By 
A. Baker - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   


This review is from:
OTOLI (Paperback)
In this beautifully written YA tale, Bryony Allen takes us on a journey into the lonely world of bullied teenager Alice Turner, and the solace she finds in a strange little cafe called Otoli. The waitress who works there, Jenny (who always seems to be scrubbing at something on a tabletop whenever Alice enters) offers her apparently unconditional friendship, and seems to understand the despair Alice feels at being a social outcast at school.

However, Jenny's friendship is only apparently unconditional, and as the novel progresses we realise, along with Alice, that there is much more to her new-found friend than meets the eye.

What I particularly loved about OTOLI is the way Bryony Allen draws the reader into Alice's world as inexorably as Alice herself is drawn into Jenny's. There's no spoiler in saying that a strong thread of the supernatural runs through the story, which Allen handles with a great subtlety and finesse which calls to mind the work of Susan Hill.

As the earlier review notes, Allen's own work as a teacher has clearly given her a profound and sympathetic understanding of the often tortuous journey from childhood to adulthood. OTOLI deserves to find a wide readership, and should certainly be in every school library.

An additional note: the book is published by the small indie press Pneuma Springs, and I was very impressed with the production quality. Not one typo in the entire book, which is more than can be said for many big publishers.

Highly recommended on all counts.

5.0 out of 5 stars
A sleek addictive tale., 8 May 2011
By 
A Cheshire Lad (Rural Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: OTOLI (Paperback)
As someone who has worked one-to-one with victims of serious bullying for some time, I was particularly eager to read Bryony Allen's new novel "OTOLI". Bullying is serious cancer that can affect the entirety of youngsters' lives if left untreated. It is a subject that needs to be handled seriously and sensitively.

Following her razor-witted first novel "Mystery, Deceit and a School Inspector", Bryony Allen, a teacher herself, uses more of her classroom experience to venture into the "Young Adult" book sector with this polished outing. Told simultaneously from the perspectives of intertwined victims' often difficult experiences fitting in to the social jungle both inside and outside of school, "OTOLI" is bang up-to-date for her target audiences.

Sleek and paced for the modern market and far from a Stephen King "Carrie"-type revenge tale, "OTOLI" takes quite an unusual path that will appeal to teens, while I hope at the same time will give adults an insight into the minds of young victims who feel they are not being listened to and have nowhere to run.

In addition to being a quality novel, a portion of the proceeds from sales of this book will go to the important charity, Bullying UK.

Five stars.


Goodreads Reviews so far


 
Oct 20, 2011
Beth rated it 4 of 5 stars


2349054
Johnathan Wilkes's review
Jul 04, 11

5 of 5 stars
Read in July, 2011

I downloaded a copy of ‘OTOLI’ for our Kindle following a few reviews I came across on the web for it via Goodreads and some Google listings in addition to some prompting from my girls after they had seen the book video trailer on Amazon (i also found it is also uploaded here). I don’t generally review many books but I had previously read an Adult fiction book by this author which I really enjoyed so I was more than happy to go get this one for my girls to read. My daughters (13 and 14 years) really loved the story of OTOLI. They connected with its characters (Alice and Jenny in particular) and in both their words 'they could really feel what Alice was going through and willed her to overcome the issues she was facing'. My 14 year old had to read it all in one go as she couldn't put it down (a masterful feat for any author to achieve where teenage readers are concerned I think). The book deals with bullying in a way they had never read before too which made the book all the more appealing to them. The book has used a supernatural element to the tale which really puts a different twist on the story but it was one that made sense as the story unfolded. Given that the author states in her BIO she is a teacher it is clearly evident that the subject and the effects of bullying in the school place is something she is more than aware of and maybe even an expert in.
In this story she has captured this really important subject in a considerate and compassionate but also entertaining way. Some reviews out there have stated that the book should be in every school library in the world. After reading the book myself I can see why they say this. OTOLI is one book as a parent of growing teens that I would completely recommend to anyone. The bullied and the bullies out there can all learn something from this book in my opinion (and my girls!). I don't want to put out any spoilers here as the book is one that won't disappoint in my view and I myself don't generally read teenage literature anymore (I'm 40+ but will admit to reading Harry Potter not so long ago!). One thing I did find out which I thought was absolutely nice was that 5% of all sales of this book are being donated by the publisher to the Bullying UK charity on a permanent basis too. It's superb to see writers and publishers out there looking past a profit margin and giving to such worthy causes. This book deserves to do very well throughout the world in my opinion, bullying after all is an evil that can affect anyone, anywhere in the world. I’m buying a copy of the paperback to keep at home on the shelf too. 5 stars to OTOLI from my girls and me too! I've posted this review to Amazon also. :-)

Johnathan


Victoria
OTOLI is unlike any other young-adult novel I have yet to read. The setting, characters, and plot pull you into a world where teens must deal and cope with real issues--bullying, social status, and friendship without being preachy and stuffing the message down the readers throat. But don't think this is just a novel advocating against bullying, oh no, there is a thrilling twist, a paranormal string that runs through this story which surprised me. I read this book in about two sittings, I couldn't put it down!

As I read I sympathized with the characters, felt for them and what they were going through. When a story gives me characters that are at a certain point in their life in the beginning and through hardships and choices grow as a person, change, flush out from the pages as three-dimensional characters I am pleased, and was I ever pleased with the characters in this story!

I didn't just feel for the victims, but also for the teens doing the bullying. Why? Because these characters are not one-sided. They all have different pasts and stories and memories.

The only thing I happened to not like was that at times the writing was a bit filling for me, but the author took great notice in details and has a beautiful way of describing the small things and making them come to life.

OTOLI gave me a new perspective on bullying and the after-math effect it can have on teens. This was a haunting, touching story.

I recommend it to everyone. I believe we can all learn something from OTOLI.
 
 
4306066
Bludhaven's review May 14, 11
 
4 of 5 stars
bookshelves: 2011, female-writers, goodread-giveaways-first-reads, speculative-fiction, supernatural, young-adult
status: Read from May 11 to 14, 2011

This book really took my by surprise - and in a good way. This story had a little twist that the blurb didn't give away and it made the story special.

The subject of bullying is a very delicate one and I think it was treated here in a way that was sensible and enjoyable at the same time. It's hard to touch on all the different layers of bullying, especially where teenagers are concerned: What these novel shows perfectly is that there are more layer than victim and bully, there are social expectations, the school system and different family backgrounds to consider - and even the adults that do want to help, don't necessarily understand what's going on inside a teen and this can make the person who is bullied even more side lined.

Alice Turner has felt like an outsider looking in for much of her life and it's no better when she starts over at a new school. She faces daily bullying by the Populars, a group of popular but mean girl at school. One day she flees into a little Café named OTOLI that she has never noticed before. There she meets the enigmatic waitress Jenny, who makes her feel welcome and accepted and listenes to all her problems with bullying.

But something is strange about both the place and her new friend. The place seems to be stuck in another time, and suddenly many strange things happen to people all around Alice.

This is not only a story about bullying, but also about revenge that makes everything worse and the necessity to find a mature way to deal with your problems.

I can warmly recommend this book.
Steve Morris
Apr 25, 2011
Steve Morris rated it 5 of 5 stars

Kelly Martin


May 02, 2011
Kelly Martin rated it 4 of 5 stars

1886570 Vivienne's review
May 09, 11

5 of 5 stars
status: Read from May 03 to 05, 2011



 External Reviewers

Check out the review of OTOLI at the Serendipity young adult fiction review blog Click here; OTOLI Review

Here's a review by Freelance writer and stay at home Mum, Lubna Sengal. Click here; OTOLI Review

YA Book Reads Blog review. Click here; YABR Review

Books4Teens Blog. Click here for: Books4Teens Review

Bookbabblers review site. Click here for: Sarah's review

Book Angel Booktopia Guest review. Click here for: Beth's review

Author Interviews

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Bryony Allen
Bryony was born in Enfield but spent most of her youth growing up in the North East of the UK near to Hartlepool before moving southwards again. She now lives in the remote wilds o More...
Other Book(s) By Bryony Allen



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