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Diana Wieler.
Saskatoon, SK: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1986.
114pp., paper, $7.95.
ISBN 0-88833-203-3. CIP.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14

Reviewed by Michael Freeman.

Volume 15 Number 1
1987 January

Every young boy imbued with a streak of rebellion will quickly identify with the diverse characters in Diana Wieler's brilliant first nove]. Marl, a twelve-year-old mixed-breed delinquent, is sent by his sympathetic social worker to a last chance farm home for hard-core troublemakers out in the Alberta badlands. One more failure to adjust will lead to his long-term incarceration in a reform school institution.

A more violent, anti-social, unthinking group of misfits would be hard to find. Marl, possessed of basically good instincts and some degree of innate intelligence, finds himself unable to deal with the hostility and erratic behaviour of his fellow inmates. One crisis follows another until Marl is forced to rise above his own selfish inclinations and demonstrate concern for the others. Although no happy ending is possible under the circumstances, one leaves the story encouraged by the thought that at least some of these problem teenagers have the potential to rise above their disadvantaged pasts.

Recommended highly for junior high students.

Michael Freeman, Bathurst Heights S.S., North York, ON.
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