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Summary: Cole Matthews and his friend Peter Driscal just completed a year of banishment to a remote Alaskan Island. They are returning to Minneapolis after having survived many cold, lonely, and life-threatening situations. Instead of looking forward to returning to family and friends, Cole and Peter are concerned that bullies, gangs, and drug dealers will harass them. Cole and Peter are on probation. One mistake by either of them would land them in prison. Their parole officer, Garvey, suggested that they draw on their experience from the island to find some answers. Will they take his advice? This is the second title in this YA series about growing up in tough circumstances.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 10 to 13; read yourself: 11 to 14
Interest Level: 10 and up
Reading Level: 6.3
Age of Child: Reviewed by students at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, MN, as part of the Use Your ABCs program.
Young Reader Reaction: This book picked up right where the first book left off, and it has a good ending. I picked the book because because I had already read the first book in the series. I thought it was what I imagined it would be because it picks up right where the other one left off. The book has a good message, but it is a little hard to read.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is another really good book. This is a story that deals with bullying. The hero was a bully. Children who read this book will recognize the personalities and behaviors of bullies and, with some help from a concerned adult, learn how to cope with the behavior of bullies.
Pros: A simple story, believable characters, and realistic incidents make this an enjoyable read. It can be a discussion starter for preteens/tweeners and those who teach and counsel them.
Cons: None. Student reviewer: It is a little hard to read.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! This book should be part of the classroom library, counselor’s book shelf, or concerned parent’s parenting resources. Student reviewer: I would buy this book, too. I thought it was a good story and it all tied together very well in the end.
Educational Themes: Although this is a fictional story, it draws on many of the everyday themes that teens today face: bullies, peer pressure, violence, drugs/no drugs, etc. The book offers ample opportunity to stop and ask "what would you do" before you turn the page.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 6.3. The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub. This is an unsolicited donation.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult series, coming of age, urban, contemporary, realistic fiction
Date(s) Reviewed: December 2008, November 2009
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com; and feedback at amazon.com.