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4.5 17
by Jean Ferris

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Inspired by the author's work in a girls' rehabilitation center.

Ray called it skating when we did the crazy things . . . Hot-wiring a fancy car for a joyride after midnight. Boosting stuff from stores . . .

Sixteen-year-old Dallas loves the rush, the excitement of "skating." But then she and her friends decide to rob a convenience store and it's


Inspired by the author's work in a girls' rehabilitation center.

Ray called it skating when we did the crazy things . . . Hot-wiring a fancy car for a joyride after midnight. Boosting stuff from stores . . .

Sixteen-year-old Dallas loves the rush, the excitement of "skating." But then she and her friends decide to rob a convenience store and it's Dallas who gets caught while the others get away. Since it is her first offense, she thinks her father will help her out - but when the judge says she can go home on probation her father says no, he can't control her. So the judge gives Dallas six months in the Girls' Rehabilitation Center. Once there, Dallas meets an assortment of "bad" girls, many of whom don't expect to change, and those who do often don't make it. How Dallas comes to terms with herself - both the bad and the good - makes for a heartfelt and insightful novel about troubled teenagers and the odds they face in trying to turn their lives around.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Dallas is sentenced to six months in the Girls' Rehabilitation Center when her father refuses the judge's offer to take her home on parole...Ferris researched her topic well and the authenticity she invests in the novel will draw in both avid and reluctant readers.” —School Library Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ferris (Invincible Summer) follows six months in the life of a 16-year-old confined to a criminal rehabilitation center for teenage girls in this novel based on interviews with young women in real-life rehab. Dallas craves the excitement of "skating" -- hot-wiring cars, shoplifting, snatching purses -- to fill the emptiness left by the death of her irresponsible mother and the coldness of her rule-bound father. But when she's caught in the midst of a convenience store holdup, gun in hand, and her father tells the judge that he can no longer control her, Dallas ends up in Girls' Rehabilitation Center, a stop between "Juvie" and a more punitive work camp. Through Dallas's eyes, readers meet the other wards at GRC, as well as the people who work to help (and sometimes hinder) them -- wan, wispy Toozdae, turning tricks to support her siblings; Dahlia, wedded to the white supremacist credo; tough-talking Shatasia, determined to change for the sake of her baby; plus Mary Alice ("Malice"), a probation officer who revels in insulting and ridiculing the girls, and counselor Nolan, who runs their Anger Management sessions. Ferris often opts for insight over authenticity in Dallas's first-person narration ("At home, at school--when I managed to get there -- everything seemed to be in slow motion and muted colors. I felt hollow and barely visible"). As a result, the narrator comes off as more of an observer than a fully realized character. But the author's willingness to explore the issues these girls face, as well as her refusal to settle for easy answers and sugarcoated endings, makes for a thoughtful novel. Ages 12-up.
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Resentful of her father, and still mourning the death of a mother both idealized and idolized, sixteen-year-old Dallas gets in more trouble than she really intends. Before she knows it she finds herself landing in Girls' Rehab. There she meets a motley assortment of girls, tough and scared, angry and fearful. And the staff vary widely too in their ability to heal or hurt their charges. As their stories unfold, Dallas learns about herself and what it is she wants out of life. The interaction among the girls, viewed against the sparse institutional setting, is dramatic and emotionally charged, yet this hard-hitting YA novel also has its moments of humor. Dallas's fractured relationship with her father is explored with sensitivity and warmth.
VOYA - Marcia Mann
Sixteen-year-old Dallas craves excitement-a craving that leads to her arrest for the armed robbery of a convenience store. Deserted by her friends and accomplices and given up on by her disappointed father, Dallas is sentenced to six months in the Girls' Rehabilitation Center. There she encounters an assortment of other "bad" girls; some trying to turn their lives around, others not certain they can change or that they even want to. These girls come from a variety of different backgrounds-some poor, some middle class, and one wealthy girl who views her time at the Center as a "vacation." Many of the girls have been victims of abuse or neglect, and are struggling to understand the concept of being responsible for their own actions despite what their friends and family may do. Dallas benefits from watching some of the repeat offenders revert to their old ways once on the "outside," and a few who manage to alter their behavior. A kindly counselor introduces Dallas to books such as Carson McCullers's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Bantam, 1983, (c)1940) that help Dallas to break out of her own self-absorbed shell. Ferris conducted a series of interviews with inmates at a rehabilitation center in preparation for writing Bad. The voices of Dallas, the other girls, and the counselors ring true and readers will relate to Dallas's search for self amidst unsavory circumstances. An insightful and non-judgmental novel, this is also an absorbing, quick read that should appeal to many young adults. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
To quote KLIATT's Sept. 1998 review of the hardcover edition: Dallas, age 16, routinely defies her father and hangs out with her bad-news boyfriend, snatching purses, shoplifting, and hot-wiring cars for joyrides. But she gets into real trouble when she's caught holding the gun during an armed robbery...the judge sentences her to six months at a rehabilitation center. There she meets an assortment of other "bad" girls—girls involved with gangs, with drugs, with abusive boyfriends—and eventually she learns how she can change her life, difficult though it may be. This is a clear-eyed, often graphic look at troubled teens, based on interviews the authors did with girls at a rehabilitation facility in San Diego. It doesn't have a pat ending, and it shows just how hard life can be for these girls whose lives have gone so wrong at such a young age...The eye-catching cover, with the word "bad" stamped in red across the figure of a slouching girl, will attract readers, and they'll quickly become engrossed in Dallas' tale and pull for her to make it. An ALA Best Book for YAs and Quick Pick for YAs. KLIATT Codes: S*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students. 1998, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 182p., $5.95. Ages 16 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)
Kirkus Reviews
Ferris (Love Among the Walnuts, p. 1115, etc.) chooses an unusual locale; the Girls' Rehabilitation Center, or GRC for this story about a teenager's attempt to bring herself into focus.

Dallas is a bad girl, who thrills to the dangers of "skating" shoplifting, purse-snatching, joyriding, having sex in public places that almost fill the vacuum she feels inside. In the opening chapter, she is the reluctant gunwoman in a failed hold-up of a convenience store, which lands her six months in the GRC. Her comrades forget her; her father, who could have prevented her incarceration with a good word to the authorities, decides that serving her sentence will do Dallas some good. Life in the GRC is structured, isolating, rigorous, and sometimes violent. The author puts together an abrasive, volatile, and abused set of characters; at the center is Dallas, whose vacillating emotions and internal blueprint for failure come across as lived experience.

Ferris subtly and skillfully divines slim hope and a glimmer of choice from the necessarily weighted stories of the girls on the inside, making for a compelling read. (Fiction 13-15)

Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.95(h) x 0.55(d)
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Jean Ferris is the author of many books, including Invincible Summer and All That Glitters, which were both ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She lives in Coronado, California.

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Bad 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
AlliAnn More than 1 year ago
A sixteen year old girl, named Dallas gets introuble because her boyfriend is a “bad” boy. She finds out who her real friends are when all of her so called friends leave her when she gets introuble for her friends. Dallas and a few of her friends like to get introuble a lot because it excites them. They get into more trouble then what they can handle and get caught robbing a store Dallas was the only person who got caught and had to go to court over. Her father couldn’t handle her any more so he let the judge put her in rehab to learn from her mistakes and try to change her life. I really enjoyed reading this book. It might not be the best book for a child under the age of twelve to read, but any age above that this book is perfect for them. It shows you never to give in to peer pressure cause your true friends wouldn’t pressure you into doing something like that. The main points in this book for me is it shows you that anything can happen, and yo need to make sure the group of people around you are good people that won’t let you be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When you let peers presure you never have control over what you do in life. True friends wouldn’t pressure you into do something bad or bad for you or going to hurt you.
Debra1998 More than 1 year ago
The book im writing about is, “Bad”. It’s about a girl named “Dallas”. She has a boy friend names Ray. She has a best friends named Sonny, and Pam. There also dating. For now. Ray was a very BAD influence. Dallas would always get peer presured into doing things. She knew if she didn’t do what Ray wanted he would leave her. She never wanted that to happen. She says she really liked Ray. She got in a lot of trouble being with Ray, Pam, and Sonny. What I like about this book is, It’s kind of like my friends. It’s a very descriptive book. It has many details. It’s a very interesting, and an amazing book. It has its flaws though. Like it has drugs and sex in it. I don’t exactly like reading about all that. I also don’t like how Pam, Ray, and Sonny act in the beginning. I don’t like how Dallas’s dad always says shes like her mother. Like it’s a bad thing to be like the person that gave birth to you. She gave birth to you. That’s the least you could do for her. Her father goes on and on about how she just like her mother. It’s a very great book. It only has 187 pages. Not that much to read. Do you think Dallas will get out of the rehab and act better, or her act worse. Read the book and find out.You will be surpirised.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I’m writing about the book “Bad” by Jean Ferris. It is a very good book. I really liked it. It’s about a girl named Dallas who goes to a Girls Rehab. Jean Ferris, author of “Bad”, lives in San Diego, California with her husband who is a lawyer. She has two grown daughters who are both teachers. She loves to read, travel, and talk long walks with friends.Ray, her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend, was a big trouble maker. He was resistible to break up with. He treated Dallas many different ways. Pam, her best friend ends up dating Dallas’ ex boyfriend Ray. Shatasia was Dallas’ roommate in the Girls Rehab Center. She was a very nice girl to Dallas’. They ended up being really good friends. Shatasia had a child. If you like reading about life in rehab centers or jails, this could be a book for you. It’s very descriptive about how the girls act, their background from their life before, and their life after. It’s not really a book for kids; it’s more of a book for older kids and adults. What I like about the book was it told about Dallas’ life in the Girls Rehab Center. I didn’t dislike anything in this book. It’s really enjoyable.
Laffy-Taffy More than 1 year ago
I never thought I could actually pick up a book and read it. That all changed when I encountered this book. A not so typical teenager named Dallas finds herself in a girls rehabilitation center. Thinking she had it bad, she never realized what all the other girls were going through. Throughout the book Dallas finds herself, and decides she is going to do her best to stay clean, even if that means having a disconnected relationship with her father. This book was fantastic, highly reccomended to mature teenagers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live in a juvenile detention home? Well the character in this book has lived that life. This book is about a girl named, Dallas, who is sent to a juvenile detention home for an armed robbery offence. She makes friends with her cellmates named, Toozdae, Shatasha and Valencia. During her time in the home, she learns to respect her father and understand the decisions he made and the consequences of her actions. Dallas also learns that you do not always have to keep the same friends. One day they are your friend and the next day they are not your friends. So ask yourself, ¿Do you know what is like to live in a juvenile detention home¿? If not, read this book and you will find out. In my own opinion this book gets four stars for its quality. The main reason I give this book four stars is because it was a very easy book to read, the content is easy to understand. The content was very different than any other book that I have read before. Even though this is a fiction book, I think this has a unique way of showing what it would be like to live in a juvenile detention center and some of the hardships that a young person would have to face. I highly recommend this book to anyone over the age of 10. I do not think that any one under the age of 10 years old should read this book because there is a little bit of violence and some mature content. Although, if a child under 10 is having problems with getting into trouble, this may be a book that can show them where they could end up. All in all I did like this book because it deals with teen issues, which is something that I can relate to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A book that is surely surprisingly different from other teen readers, Bad by Jean Ferris illustrates the non-typical life of a troubled teenager named Dallas. Dallas searches in meaningless relationships with boys for the love that is not being provided by her single father and deceased mother. These relationships often end her up in the wrong crowd, surrounded by crime. Torn emotionally between heartbreak and following in her mothers broken path Dallas becomes and emotional bombshell. Eventually Dallas ¿ luck catches up with her and she is sent to a girls rehab center for robbing a gas station with a gun. In the rehab center she comes to the realization that she has only one life, and if she wants to live it she better slow down. She also learns to cope with the loss of her mother, and try to gain an understanding of father¿s constant worry and struggle in being a single parent and raising a daughter. Although in some parts the plot becomes predictable (as in most teen readers) the book has a great feel to it. Instead of following the typical male downward spiral into a life of crime, Ferris expresses the delinquent life of a young woman stuck in a web of lies and miscommunication. The reader is given a full-frontal gritty invitation to the life of several women who share similar fates as Dallas, from a resolute white supremacist, to a troubled teen mom. Each with their own story and each with their own actions that plays a huge part on molding Dallas into a woman. One girl in particular who helps Dallas in her struggle is Shatasia. Together the two girls learn to grow and gain wisdom from their mistakes. Dallas is a very empty character who sometimes seems non-existent For Dallas life is a slow learning experience that she attempted to tackle to quickly. Even after leaving the rehabilitation center she still is uncertain about the direction of her life. With a surprising and extremely suspenseful ending. Bad is the perfect book for any teenager who is overloaded with stress or troubled relationships. Ferris hit a home run with this great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books that I have ever read, and I would highly recomend this book if you are looking for some excitement and intensity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finsished reading the book Bad and it is about a girl named Dallas who gets caught with a gun holding up a small convenient store. She gets sent to rehabilitation and learns about other people that have been going through struggles like her as well. She is put in there for 6 months and is trying to learn to get better and not to do the bad things she had been doing. It made me realize to appreciate things alot more, and see when people are doing wrong that I should stand up and say something, and not let them take it that far.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished reading the book Bad for school. This is a perfect book for young adults since it teaches you many lessons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bad was an excellent book for young adults. I read this novel for summer reading. I recommend everyone reading this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finshed reading the book called Bad by Jean Ferris! It is an awesome book. It's about a girl named Dallas who is sent to a Rehabiliation center for 6 months and the ups and downs she goes through. After reading this book it opened my eyes to a lot of things that I was doing wrong and how I can fix them. I want everyone to go out and read this book espcially if you are 14-18 years old.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have any of you read the book called Bad? I have just finshed reading it and it is an excellent book. Jean Ferris did an incredable job when writing it. She has many life experiences that some girls have to go through because they think that they have to live under those conditions. After reading this book I have relized that everyone can change and be different if they want to whether they're on the right path or not. To anyone who is reading this, if you want to read this book about girls that have been sent to a Rehabilition center go pick it up at your local libary and read it for yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book!! It really teaches u something! i recommend this book!! u dont wanna put it dowm!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sixteen year old Dallas is sentenced to six months in the Girls¿ Rehabilitation Center. She was charged for holding up a convenient store employee with a gun. Dallas¿ father refuses to take her home on parole because he feels that she needs to learn a lesson. While Dallas gets busted, her manipulative boyfriend, Ray, and two other so-called friends walk away scot-free even though they were the ones who planned the robbery and set up Dallas. Dallas didn¿t tell the judge that it was their fault, she didn¿t rat on her friends. For this she got a thank you from Ray and he also dumped her for her ¿best friend¿, Pam. I rated this book a 4 out of 5 because it was pretty good but it could have been better. The book was based on what everyone else in the book did. Dallas could have talked more about what she thought. I also thought that Jean Ferris should have talked more about what happened to Ray and Dallas¿ other ¿friends¿ after she got sent away. Her dad might have been a better character if he was in the book more; instead they pretty much only had Dallas¿ opinion of him. Overall the book was good because it makes you think about things from other people¿s point of views. It teaches you a lot about making the right choices in life and about how right or wrong those choices will effect you later on in life. I think this is a great book for almost anybody. Most of the people who can relate to this story or have a pretty good idea would be people between the ages of 13 and being a parent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just got done readin this book about 2 minutes ago. It was excellent and I couldn't put it down it was so good. I can relate to Dallas in many ways. I wonder what would happen to her if the book kept going though. If you haven't yet read this you should because it was great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, I was never really into reading before until now, and couldn't put it down. This was a very touching book and and got you really in the life of this girl named Dallas. I could relate to almost everything that happened emotionally.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to say Thanks a million to Jean Ferris for helping me find a great passion. I hated reading untill i picked up a book in the library called 'Bad' I absolutly love this book and can relate to Dallas as she over comes obsticles. Since I read 'Bad' I have also read these books: ' Of Sound Mind'(aslo by Jean Ferris) and When I Was Older' by: Garret Freymann-Weyr.