Back

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Overview

Jojo's back, released from jail, and people are tense and afraid all over again. They wonder if his friends will start showing up again. They wonder if they'll be walking down the street one day and they'll run into Jojo and Jojo will give them attitude or shove them around, just for fun. Jojo's friends have a way of making it hard—really hard—on people who decide to press charges against Jojo. Those people just wish Jojo would go away and never come back. Then there are the people who have hate in their hearts. ...

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Back

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Overview

Jojo's back, released from jail, and people are tense and afraid all over again. They wonder if his friends will start showing up again. They wonder if they'll be walking down the street one day and they'll run into Jojo and Jojo will give them attitude or shove them around, just for fun. Jojo's friends have a way of making it hard—really hard—on people who decide to press charges against Jojo. Those people just wish Jojo would go away and never come back. Then there are the people who have hate in their hearts. These people wish something bad would happen to Jojo. Something really bad. Ardell Withrow is one of those people.

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Editorial Reviews

CM Magazine
"Back is sure to satisfy Norah McClintock fans as well as teens looking for an authentic urban experience in a well-told, accessible story. It is also an excellent choice for read-aloud. Highly Recommended."
Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"This short but powerful story explores the topic of forgiveness and redemption from the perspective of a bystander who renames nameless and genderless...This is a good morality tale that will have reluctant readers thinking about how they would react in a similar situation. Recommended."
Resource Links
"Fits the Orca Soundings template to perfection. It is suspenseful and plot-driven, and written in a neutral way that leaves much to the inference of the reader. It covers strong, current issues with realistic language."
Booklist
"Perfect for reluctant readers up for some soul-searching."
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
"Bullying and revenge are common themes in young adult literature, but author Norah McClintock gives these classic themes an updated twist...The experiences in the book are ones to which almost any reader will relate."
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Having served two years for manslaughter in the death of his neighbor Eden Withrow, Jojo Benn is now back. At home, he wants nothing more than to be left alone to care for his mother who is dying of cancer. However, the circumstances of his crime have led to a great deal of anger elsewhere. The victim, Eden, died when he stepped in to break up a beating between Jojo and his pregnant girlfriend Shana. In the time since, Eden's brother Ardelle has not let go of the past; he has sworn vengeance on Eden's killer. Ardelle feels even more incensed when Shana begins to bring the baby over for visits with his father. A sense of foreboding falls over the neighborhood as Jojo tries to go quietly about his life while Ardelle sits on his porch and stares angrily at the Benns' house. Then Jojo is jumped and brutally beaten by a gang that includes Ardelle. The neighborhood closes ranks to protect one of their own. Told by a young neighbor boy, the story unfolds naturally without sensationalism. The very real tension in the neighborhood is palpable and while the denouement is not surprising, is it not predictable. These are the real facts of life for many teens in hardcore neighborhoods but it is not a story without hope. Ardelle does have the grades and the wherewithal to get out of the cycle and make something of himself. But many teens will read this and wonder whether or not Ardelle should face punishment for his part in Jojo's death. The book is ripe for discussion. Written with brevity and insight, this quick read leaves the reader much to think about. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551439891
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Series: Orca Soundings Series
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 700,800
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Norah McClintock is a five-time winner of the Crime Writers of Canada's Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile Crime Novel. Although Norah is a freelance editor, she still manages to write at least one novel a year. Visit www.norahmcclintock.com for more information.

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Read an Excerpt

There are a lot of people who can't believe that Jojo has the nerve to come back to our neighborhood. There are more people who don't want him around. Things haven't exactly been peaceful since he went away. Things are never peaceful in my neighborhood. But at least people haven't worried about Jojo for the past two years.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    Ygh Ugh

    This was very argravting. It was like the author got lazy nd diidnt finish the book. Good but need more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    A young man just released from prison has a neighborhood upset and ready for revenge. Jojo has been nothing but trouble from an early age, and when he beat Eden Withrow within an inch of his life, he became the most unpopular guy around. Most folks don't think the two-year sentence he served was nearly long enough.

    Ardell, Eden's younger brother, can't stand to see Jojo living back across the street. His brother has been in a coma since the attack and is not likely to recover. How can Jojo return to the neighborhood and pick up life where he left off? Ardell is determined to make him pay.

    Jojo seems quite different now. He spends his time cooking and cleaning for his mother, and when his old girlfriend, Shana, shows up with his baby, he seems ready to accept responsibility. However, his crime is more than most people can forgive. Ardell and his gang convince shopkeepers to close their doors to Jojo, and they stake out his house and make not-so-subtle threats to his family's safety.

    Can a criminal be rehabilitated? Can the victims forgive a senseless act of violence? These are the questions posed by author Norah McClintock in BACK.

    Less than 100 pages, this book is surprising in the way it clearly paints a picture of an angry young man, his family, and the punk whose actions changed the course of their lives. The style of high-interest, lower reading level will certainly attract and captivate the reluctant YA reader.

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