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Marilyn Halvorson.
Don Mills, ON: General Paperbacks, 1991.
192pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-77375-369-9.. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Brothers-Juvenile fiction.
Ranch life-Fiction.

Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-16

Reviewed by Margaret Mackey.

Volume 19 Number 4
1991 September

Brothers and Strangers is a competently organized trip through some very familiar territory. The local colour is Albertan but the story is really set in Anytown, North America. The plot is a mixture of S.E. Hinton and standard horse story.

Beau Garrett lives with his father and is startled one day by the return of his big brother Steve, who ran away seven years earlier. Two facts will surprise no one familiar with this kind of fiction. Steve has some guilty secret in his past, and he has an uncanny knack with horses. This talent enables him to step into the breach at the local ranch, where the trainer has just been fired for cruelty to the horses. This allows two further complications in the plot: Steve attracts the enmity of the former trainer, and he and Beau compete for the ranch owner's daughter.

The book, in short, sticks very closely to the conventions of one genre of teenage fiction. Beau narrates, and we learn about Steve's past gradually, as he does. To anyone familiar with adolescent fiction, there is almost nothing new in this book. However, it is neatly put together, and those who like this kind of story will be glad of a Canadian version.

Margaret Mackey, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
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