The Beckoners

( 13 )

Overview

When her mother suddenly moves them to a new town, Zoe is unhappy about leaving behind what passes for a normal life. And when the first person she meets turns out to be Beck, who rules her new school with a mixture of intimidation and outright violence, she is dismayed. But she has no idea how bad things will get. Unsure of herself and merely trying to fit in, Zoe is initiated, painfully, into the Beckoners, a twisted group of girls whose main purpose is to stay on top by whatever means necessary. Help comes ...

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Overview

When her mother suddenly moves them to a new town, Zoe is unhappy about leaving behind what passes for a normal life. And when the first person she meets turns out to be Beck, who rules her new school with a mixture of intimidation and outright violence, she is dismayed. But she has no idea how bad things will get. Unsure of herself and merely trying to fit in, Zoe is initiated, painfully, into the Beckoners, a twisted group of girls whose main purpose is to stay on top by whatever means necessary. Help comes from unlikely quarters as Zoe struggles to tear loose from the Beckoners without becoming a target herself, while also trying to save April—or Dog, as she is called—from further torment. A chilling portrait of bullying and violence that is all too common, The Beckoners illustrates the lure of becoming one of the tormentors rather than the victim, and the terrible price that can be exacted for standing up for what is right.

When Zoe moves to a new town, she finds the line between victim and tormentor is easily crossed.

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Editorial Reviews

NMRLS Youth Services
"A beautifully written...terrifying, compelling book...impossible to forget."
Resource Links
"Hard-hitting...saturated with a sense of foreboding...a provocative and realistic portrayal of what it means to be a victim and a tormentor. Rated: Good."
CM Magazine
"Will be one of those sleeper novels passed from hand to hand by teenagers...It will probably disappear from your library collections, the ultimate approval rating. Buy your five copies now and keep one behind the counter. Highly Recommended."
Peak Publications Society SFU
"What author Carrie Mac has managed to do is write honestly...Mac has finally deemed kids capable of handling both the nitty and the gritty."
Canadian Children's Book News
"This is a book that will be passed from teen to teen for the naughty bits, but along the way it will challenge young people to reflect on what they accept and dismiss..."
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2004: Zoe Anderson does not want to hear that her mother is moving the family—again. At 15 she has already moved nine times. But Alice packs up Zoe and her baby sister, Cassy, has one last blow-up with Cassy's father, and leaves Prince George for Abbotsford, in Canada. At her new school, Zoe makes friends with a gay couple, Simon and Teo, and a girl gang leader, Beck. Beck's gang is made up of girls who spend much of their time terrorizing a girl named April and anybody else they please. Initially Zoe doesn't mind being part of the gang, a place to belong, but gradually she feels uncomfortable with the torment they enjoy. Beck's birthday party is a drunken bash where Zoe witnesses a sexual encounter between the boyfriend of one of the gang members and an unwilling girl. Unable to tell anyone, especially her mother, Zoe seeks to extricate herself from the gang, which comes with beatings, harassing threats and knife wounds. Along the way she becomes friends with April, the gang's number-one victim, and Leaf, the boy who lives next door. She learns how it feels to be on both sides of high school bullying, which is seen as it happens outside the view of unconcerned teachers and administrators. There is adult language, vicious behavior and an ending that wraps the story up a bit too conveniently.
VOYA
A crowd gathers around April, a small, terrified fourteen-year-old. Beck and her gang push April to her knees, pull her arms back, and force-feed her dog treats. The bystanders loudly count as each biscuit is shoved into her mouth. Afterward, April, officially renamed DOG, stumbles to her next class, but not before she throws up fifty-two liver-flavored dog biscuits. This atmosphere pervades in the school to which Zoe transfers. Beck and her gang, the Beckoners, rule. Other students avoid them, and the staff feigns ignorance. On Zoe's first day, Beck is assigned as her escort and for some unknown reason, Beck decides that Zoe will become a Beckoner. Tempted by a place to belong, Zoe ignores the warning signs and allows herself to be drawn in. After the initiation, branding by a fire-hot fork held under her upper arm, Zoe realizes that the Beckoners are evil. This novel is not a story about a girls' clique but about a girls' gang. They are vicious, violent, and beyond the law or caring about anyone or anything. They take prisoners. The powerful intensity in this book will either keep the reader riveted or forced to take breaks from the haunting discomfort. The writing is well done. The structure is good until the ending, which seems almost comic book-like for such a far-from-feel-good novel. Girls will want to read it, whereas teachers will shy away, discomfited by the indictment of their inaction. Stories like this one do not happen in every school, but they happen often enough that they must be dealt with. Discussing this book is a start. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; SeniorHigh, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Orca, 217p., Ages 12 to 18.
—C. J. Bott
KLIATT
Zoe Anderson does not want to hear that her mother is moving the family—again. At 15 she has already moved nine times. But Alice packs up Zoe and her baby sister, Cassy, has one last blow-up with Cassy's father, and leaves Prince George for Abbotsford, in Canada. At her new school, Zoe makes friends with a gay couple, Simon and Teo, and a girl gang leader, Beck. Beck's gang is made up of girls who spend much of their time terrorizing a girl named April and anybody else they please. Initially Zoe doesn't mind being part of the gang, a place to belong, but gradually she feels uncomfortable with the torment they enjoy. Beck's birthday party is a drunken bash where Zoe witnesses a sexual encounter between the boyfriend of one of the gang members and an unwilling girl. Unable to tell anyone, especially her mother, Zoe seeks to extricate herself from the gang, which comes with beatings, harassing threats and knife wounds. Along the way she becomes friends with April, the gang's number one victim, and Leaf, the boy who lives next door. She learns how it feels to be on both sides of high school bullying, which is seen as it happens outside the view of unconcerned teachers and administrators. There is adult language, vicious behavior and an ending that wraps the story up a bit too conveniently. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2004, Orca, 217p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In this stark, atmospheric novel, Zoe's almost-normal life deteriorates rapidly when her mother moves the family to a new town where the school is run by a ruthless gang. Even before the 15-year-old is brutally initiated into the Beckoners, she has serious doubts about her ability to survive. But the situation only gets worse as she struggles with her conscience over the Beckoners' obsessively cruel attacks on the school loser. Zoe risks further alienation as she treads a minefield of deceit, honor, disgust, and self-protection. The adults in her world are so ineffectual, deluded, or disengaged that there is little hope of breaking the gang's tyrannical hold on the community. Mac's novel compellingly portrays the herd mentality that every uncool teen dreads. The pacing is gripping and relentless-readers can expect violence, sex, rough language, and out-of-control behavior. The devastating (yet almost predictable) climax scarcely provides the relief and redemption needed to clear the mind of the horror and tragedy at the hands of such severely disturbed young people.-Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551437293
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 952,342
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Carrie Mac's first novel The Beckoners won the Arthur Ellis YA Award, is a CLA Honour book. She is available for school and library presentations, and has been known to hold the interest of a couple hundred teens where others have failed. Maybe it's the tattoos. For more information, visit www.carriemac.com.

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Read an Excerpt

The girl was still there, on a swing, pumping hard, so high the chain slackened before letting her down. Then suddenly she stopped, digging her bare feet into the sand. She kicked herself in circles, tightening the chain until it wouldn’t turn anymore. Then for a second she stared across the night between them, right at Zoe, until she let go, spinning into a dark fast blur.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 13, 2009

    A Must-Read!

    The Beckoners by Carrie Mac was a very interesting book. The author kept you wondering what event was going to take place next. I think that this book is very interesting to teens and can make teens away of peer pressure and bullying.
    In this book, Zoe was a new student at school and she became friends with Beck. Little did she know at the time, Beck was the leader of a group called "The Beckoners", the group that ruled their school. Zoe soon found out that this was not a good group to be with. They were bullies and very mean to a girl at school named April. Zoe learned to stand up for April and herself. Zoe was trying to hide from the Beckoners without any consequence for leaving the group, but they were not going to let her get away that easy. Read this book to find out what happens!
    I felt that teens could easily relate to this book if they have been bullied, witnessed someone being bullied, or been a bully themselves. This book describes the pressure to 'fit in' with a certain group, but learning that you should be yourself and make sure that you are hanging with a good group of people. When Zoe first went over to The Beckoners' table during lunch, I felt like I could relate to her because she was looking for some friends and thought these girls were good girls to be friends with. She later found out that they were not. Another instance that was interesting to read about was when April, Zoe, and The Beckoners were out in the field. The Beckoners were harassing April, and Zoe was trying her hardest to stop them. When April told Zoe to just leave, she did, running home to get her mom to come and help April. Even though the Beckoners told Zoe not to repeat anything that happened, she knew what she had to do, which was to get help. Zoe's mom was never very in tune with what was going on in Zoe's life, but when Zoe went home and needed her mom's help, she was right there beside her. This showed that her mom was going to help her daughter no matter what was going on. I believe that this book was very inspiring, and you can learn a lot of lessons from it.
    I think that this book started and ended very well. The events that took place made sense in the order that they were written. The characters were very realistic and I think that most people could relate to at least one of them. This book was written very well; it was descriptive and intriguing. It also sent a very good message to readers and could be and inspiring book to read.
    This book is a must-read! If you are a fan of realistic fiction, check out this book! I would give it five out of five smiley's!

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  • Posted September 13, 2009

    A Good Book For Teens About Bullying

    The Beckoners is an excellent young adult novel written by Carrie Mac that addresses the issues of peer pressure, teen gangs, and violence in gangs. This novel is a great read for teens, written well and with a good message: do not be involved in gangs. Zoe, the main character, is going to a new school in the beginning of the novel, and although she makes some nice friends, she starts to get involved with the wrong crowd, a mean group of girls who are the self-proclaimed Beckoners. After a painful orientation into the gang, Zoe watches how they bully a girl that they call "Dog," and wants to get out. She spends the rest of her time in the novel trying to help Dog, whose real name is April, and to stay away from the violent Beckoners.
    This book is more than just good. With the unique plot and the author's creative writing style, I would say that I have gotten my hands on a first-rate novel. The author has a nice way of writing, and writes about actual teen characters that sometimes make really bad choices, and not a sixteen-year-old sensible adult. For instance, when Zoe saw someone being abused, she didn't tell anyone because she was too scared, even though she should have. Another unique quality of this book is the events that take place, which are very original although somewhat violent. These actions are placed throughout the book, from the Beckoners force-feeding April to eat a box of dog biscuits, to where they remove Zoe from their gang. Although many of them, I have never come across these events in any other teen novels. When you finish reading the novel and reflect back, the good message of this book hits you (to not be involved in gangs) especially when you read about the consequences, those of like happened to the Beckoners at the finale of the story.
    Despite being fairly brutal, this is still a five star novel, one that I would recommend to high school, and even a mature eighth grader. It shows what can really happen with gangs, and that is important in the world we live in today.

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  • Posted October 19, 2008

    Book Review

    The Beckoners is a book that will make you think twice about the decisions you make in your life. Teen life by far is the most interesting stage in one¿s life. Carrie Mac¿s The Beckoners, made the opinion stronger. The subject of teens having to make decisions that will affect their life is both interesting and stressful.<BR/>The book follows Zoe Anderson, a young teenage girl who has made the decision of being a part of a gang called the Beckoners. But it¿s after she joins that she realizes the affect the gang has on her and other people around her. Being in a new school and not knowing about everyone and everything leaves Zoe wondering about what she¿s gotten herself into.<BR/><BR/>Carrie Mac¿s storyline is easy to follow because some of the situations that are occurring in the book are not new to teenagers. When Zoe is offered a cigarette that is an invitation for her to join the gang, but at the time she did not know that accepting it would be for her to join. Zoe tries to avoid the Beckoners to show that she is not interested in what they do and stand for. But with that, the Beckoners are getting suspicious of why she is avoiding them and soon find out why she has. And in result of that Zoe gets conflicted on whether to tell that she and April are being threatened by the Beckoners.<BR/><BR/>Carrie Mac¿s sequences of events are easy to follow and the vocabulary is appropriate for teenagers. The plot is interesting about how she incorporates the newcomer, Zoe, in a gang initiation. One of the lessons in the book is to be conscious of who you associate yourself with and make good decisions that will not only impact you, but people around you.<BR/>If you enjoy getting a teenagers¿ perspective on life and situations, this is the book for you. Recommended for ages 14 and up. In comparison to similar books about peer pressure, this book is a book you could a lesson or two from.<BR/>Rating: :) :) :) / :) :) :) :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2008

    This was AWSOME!

    Book Review on The Beckoners by Carrie Mac When Zoe¿s mother, Alice, gets a new job Zoe and her baby half sister have to move, again. When they arrive in Abbottsville Zoe didn¿t think much of it, well, she thought about how much she wanted to be in different town. The day she gets to Abbottsville¿s Central high school, she unknowingly meets Beck the girl who she would learn was her enemy. Zoe doesn¿t know much about Beck, but joins her gang, anyway. Simon, one of Zoe¿s new friends tells her things bout Beck and her gang that Zoe doesn¿t like, when she tries to get out there is trouble for he and her new friends. The book gave me a terrifying look into the life of school gangs. In the book, it states the process of getting incited into the gang ¿the fork glowed a fierce orange. Beck took of her jacket and pushed up her own sleeve. On the fleshy inside of her arm just below her shoulder, were four raised scares, lined up like the prongs of a fork. This is the Beckoner mark¿ That was the was what every one of them had to go through. They went through the pain of being branded by a fork, just so they could be a Beckoner. ¿No your right one we all have it on the right arm.¿ It was a Beckoner tradition to get branded on the right arm. When the Main character, Zoe, wanted to get out of the Beckoners she hid, but then Beck , the gang leader, found her one morning in English. When Zoe went to tell Beck to get out of her seat Beck told Zoe she could leave, she told Zoe this, ¿Never. You came in formally. You leave formally. I choose when. I choose where. I choose how badly.¿ Entering and leaving The Beckoners gives you more pain than it is worth. The Beckoners is a very well written book. The Author, Carrie Mac, described the characters and where they were perfectly. You could feel that you knew where you were and who you were with. The plot though, wasn¿t executed that well it felt like there was time being skipped. I felt as I was reading this that one thing was happening right after the other, as there was no downtime in between major events. The events in the story also seemed very extreme for teenagers. The characters in the story do hideous things, like burning a girl¿s beloved dairy right before her eyes, sending death threats, and other cruel things I can¿t imagine teenagers doing. This book was an educational read. It would be good for a teenage reader interested in learning about high school gang.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    Violence Isn't the Answer

    In the book The Beckoners by Carrie Mac, the main character Zoe, faces many problems when she moves to a new town with her mother and younger sister. The main problems she faces mostly come as soon as she meets Beck, a girl who tries to hide the secret that her father hurt her when she was a kid and the leaders of the Beckoners, a gang in her neighborhood that uses violence and intimidation to gain control over people. Gang violence has never been an issue for any one in Zoe¿s new town, or so they pretend. Everyone overlooks the gang, pretends they aren¿t causing trouble and look the other way, even April, who is the main victim of the gangs¿ cruelty. Zoe gets sucked into the world of Beck¿s gang when one night they unexpectedly initiate her into the gang. Zoe realizes she¿s in over her head even her best friend, Simon, tells her how bad the Beckoners really are. She pretends that she¿s not in the gang, hoping they will go away and leave her alone, but it only makes things worse for her and April. Zoe is forced into being cruel to April, but she feels bad for her when she sees all the things the Beckoners really do to her. They continuously use violence, intimidation, and peer pressure to scare Zoe into remaining in the gang. She¿s in too deep the only way to get out is when Beck says you can leave the gang for good. With Simon and Leaf¿s help, Zoe is finally uninitiated, but the problems don¿t stop there. Once April reveals a secret Zoe has kept about one member of the gang, Jazz, the Beckoners get violent again, even more so than before. There threats become more real and personal when the Beckoners beat April up for ¿crossing¿ them. Zoe¿s friend Leaf decides the only way to make this end is to go to the police, but it only makes things worse again. After the Beckoners hurt April¿s best friend in the world, Shadow, her dog, it¿s clear possibly nothing can stop them, but you¿d have to read the book to find out how it ends. I recommend this book to people in high school, because the issues are a little more mature and violent. I really liked the book it was kind of predictable, though. I think the issues, though, are something every kid will deal with. Peer Pressure is a really big factor in today¿s society. It¿s really a book that can pull you in, because you just want to know what happens in the end. This book really got me thinking about things we sometimes overlook, like the influence our friends have over our decisions, I really think it¿s a good book to get people to think more in their own lives. I give it 4 stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    Gripping and Informative

    The Beckoners by Carrie Mac is a novel about teenage peer pressure, gang involvement, and gang violence. The main character Zoey has moved from town to town with her young mother and little half sister since her childhood. This time, Zoey and her family move once again to a town called Abbotsford. Abbotsford is an extremely Christian community with a bunch of ¿Jesus freaks¿, as Zoey calls them. When arriving to Abbotsford, Zoey meets Beck, the leader of a small girls gang called the Beckoners. The Beckoners terrorize a girl named April,who the Beckoners call Dog. When Zoey and Beck first meet as strangers, they get into an almost physical fight. Little did Zoey know that she soon would become involved with Beck and her cronies and their wicked ways of terrorizing April. The Beckoners, including Zoey, continue to terrorize and harass April. They abuse her with spoken death threats and physically beating her up. When the terrorizing of April gets to be a little too much for Zoey, she tries to do something that no Beckoner has done before. Will she succeed or will she down spiral to the Beckoners level? In my opinion I think Mac did an amazing job of defining a gang and explaining how they are problematic to our society. She displayed how teens give into peer pressure 'like when Zoey decides to join the Beckoners' in a very relevant and up to date way. Mac definitely deserves all of her awards for giving a true insight on how a teen struggles with everyday life to some of the roughest times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2008

    Great book for teens

    I found Carrie Mac¿s The Beckoners inspirational in every way possible. The explanation and vivid detail she gave for each character made you feel like you knew them and lived in their place setting. With the problems and drama going on in this story it almost scares you back into reality, knowing that all of what she wrote happens in the real world. No one in their right mind should miss out on this realistic, life- like novel of a girl trapped in the harassment of a gang. Seeing Beck for the first time at the park perched upon the jungle gym, sitting there all smug, smoking, with a puddle of butts already on the ground under her, Zoe knew that girl would be trouble from the start. Getting assigned to have Beck show her around school the first week, was only the beginning of what was coming to Zoe. Already, the Beckoners had nearly ruined April, the school geek¿s life, and had made everyone who crossed their path terrified of them, including Simon. Getting chosen and going through with the initiation into the group, Zoe knew at that moment she just made a colossal mistake for herself and for her new found friends April and Simon. Zoe had tried to help April as best as she could to end the harassment that Beckoners had committed against her, but April was in for the biggest upset and shock of her life. With Mac¿s vivid details of certain situations, this book will make you want to keep reading and reading. For example, when Zoe¿s arm gets cut to ¿remove¿ her from the gang, Mac explains it in such a way, you feel as though you were there witnessing the happening of it for yourself. Mac¿s writing style is probably the best I¿ve ever read. The writing just flows and draws you in, making you want to keep reading to find out what will happen next. This book is compelling and great for all readers ages 13 and up. I highly recommend it, as it will teach and inspire you to help people the way Zoe helped April. I give it 11 out of 10, no doubt.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    The Beckoners

    The Beckoners by Carrie Mac is a tale about a teenage girl who is convinced that her life has no meaning. Zoe Anderson ¿-again¿-is forced by her mother to move to a new town, Abbotsford. Her mother¿s job makes them move around a lot, but Zoe had no idea what the new move had in store for her. The first day of school Zoe, meets Beck, the leader of the ¿gang¿ the Beckoners. Beck and her little followers torment the school and, the students, especially, April otherwise known as ¿dog¿. Beck¿for some odd reason¿wants Zoe to be a beckoner. So against her will Beck forces Zoe to join her gang. To initiate Zoe into the group they stab her with a fork. Every beckoner had the scab of the fork. After being forced to be a beckoner, Zoe does everything she possibly can to avoid the beckoners. So she makes friends with Simon and Teo, who told her that they would help her avoid the Beckoners. Zoe also joins the paper where she meets Leaf. April¿who is tormented by the Beckoners¿also joins the paper. But, Zoe could not avoid the Beckoners forever. So, when she goes to a concert with her boyfriend Leaf, the beckoners are there to take her out of the gang. The beckoners cut the scab of the fork out of her arm and, leave her there all alone. When Leaf finds her, there he forces her to get some help for her arm. Zoe thought that, that was the end of the Beckoners rein of torment, but it was not over. The Beckoners hung a mannequin that was supposed to look like April. After that they hung April¿s beloved dog. Everyone had enough of all the torment that the Beckoners were doing. So, Zoe concocted a plan to get the Beckoners to stop what they were doing. The plan was to pretend that April committed suicide because of them. Everyone¿April, April¿s parents, Zoe, Simon, Teo, Leaf¿helped with the plan. When the Beckoners found out about the ¿suicide¿ they decided to turn their selves into the police. Carrie Mac did a wonderful job in telling a realistic story of how cruel people can be. While reading the book anyone could be entranced from the beginning when Zoe moves to her new town, to the end when the Beckoners turn their selves in. As you read the book you will be deep in thought the whole time. The Beckoners by Carrie Mac is a tale of drama, love, family, and being a teenager in modern times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    The Most Amazing Book You'll Ever Read!!

    Ashley Moxley September 9, 2008 The Beckoners Hey everybody this is Ashley Moxley from The John Carroll School in Bel Air Maryland and this Summer I read The Beckoners by Carrie Mac. It was really a good book about a teenager named Zoe Who lives with her mother and sister, but there seems to be one little problem. The family moves every Three months, years, or weeks. It makes it hard for Zoe to make friends when she enters her new school. But this school was a little different. She meets a group of people who lead her into a bad path a path that she knows better than to take. This book would be good for those who have the similar problem of not knowing who they want to be or what could happen if you enter a path that could lead you down a dark alley way. The way I feel about this book is that it really shows and explains what can happen if you take the wrong path. If you take the path that Zoe took then you are going to have problems in life if you meet up with a group like she did. For instance when Zoe first meets up with the ¿group¿ that was a bad influence on her was an example of taking the wrong path especially when she took the cigarette from Beck. The writing style of this book I would have to say is that it first introduces you to the characters and how the family behaves and their likes and dislikes. And then they start getting into what happens and the main plot of the story. I think that the message of this story is that you really need to be careful with some of the decisions that you make because they may be the wrong decisions and may turn out in a bad consequence. So go on out there and read this book. Personally I would rate this book a 5. But I would say this book is for high school and up. I wouldn¿t recommend this to middle school yet because some of the events in the story may be too mature for them and some of the language may be too mature for them as well. So what are you waiting for, get of this computer and go read The Beckoners.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    this book was really good. the story line was the classic girl rule the school but with a twist. though the book lacked some detail and the climax went a bit fast it was still a good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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