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Posted January 4, 2004
Compelling, Fast-paced, Believable...
Grace Waters is a troubled, smart-aleck, 17-year-old juvenile delinquent apparently intent on harming others and herself. She¿s gotten so out of hand that neither her mother nor her step-father knows what to do with her. After assaulting a teacher, the juvenile court judge incarcerates Grace until her 18th birthday, which is six months away. Grace is too angry to care. She arrives at Sapling Hill, a kind of boot camp for juveniles, and it doesn¿t take long for her to realize that the camp instructors don¿t play by the same rules as the world outside the institution. By yelling, shaming, intimidation, and withholding of privileges, the instructors compel the teen girls to behave, and they suffer consequences when they do not. Surprisingly, Grace responds¿in particular, she responds to the tough and relentless Instructor Carey, who sees something in Grace that the kid doesn¿t even know is there. But Grace¿s journey isn¿t going to be an easy one. She is hiding secrets that first must be lanced and healed, and the young woman is in no way prepared to share, not even with Carey for whom she gradually gains a caring and respect.++++++++++ From the first pages, I was hooked. The narrative is fast-paced, the secondary characters are colorful, and the dialogue sparkles. Some of the events at Sapling Hill are quite amusing, and there is plenty of conflict between the teens. It reads like a cross between ¿An Officer and a Gentleman¿ and ¿The Breakfast Club,¿ in other words, immensely accessible, seemingly light¿but dealing with harsh realities under the surface. Grace¿s journey is compelling, and Carey¿s role in it is honorable. The relationships that Grace develops once she drops her guard enough to look around and open up feel truthful and real.++++++++++ Miller and Foster have done an excellent job showing Grace¿s growth curve from age 17 to 19 or so as she learns to deal with the abuses she has suffered. The romance that eventually grows for her is a fitting end to her struggle. A book that is a lot of fun to read, this one is highly recommended. ~Lori L. Lake, reviewer for Midwest Book Review and author of Gun Shy, Under The Gun, Different Dress, Ricochet In Time, and Stepping Out: Short Stories.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.