Sam is concerned about keeping things orderly and "cool" at school. She thinks people need to have a tough skin in order to fit in and withstand others' meanness and lack of cooperation. Sam teases her free-spirited classmate Luisa and enlists a friend, Jayla, to help. But when Sam is confronted by a concerned teacher about her bullying, and Jayla turns on Sam and befriends Luisa, Sam begins to show some heart and rethink her treatment of others.
The Weird! Series books tell the story of an ongoing case of bullying from three third graders' perspectives. Luisa describes being targeted by bullying in Weird! Jayla shares her experience as a bystander to bullying in Dare!, and in Tough!, Sam speaks from the point of view of someone initiating bullying. Kids will easily relate to Luisa, Jayla, and Sam, as each girl has her own unique experience, eventually learning how to face her challenges with the help of friends, peers, and caring adults.