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Peter McPhee, a Southern Alberta-based writer, was for many years an editor and film critic for the Winnipeg Sun. ...
Peter McPhee, a Southern Alberta-based writer, was for many years an editor and film critic for the Winnipeg Sun. He has written several books for both children and young adults, including Runner and A Way With Horses.
Callum and his parents recently moved to Winnipeg from Glasgow, Scotland, where he was brutally knifed by a group of hooligans a year before. Still recovering physically and mentally, he adjusts slowly to Canadian culture but makes two friends, Tyler and Aiden. Trouble begins on the first day of ninth grade when Callum meets Cindy. She has an argument with her friend Rick, an older and bigger student, and Callum is caught up in a brawl with one of Rick's buddies. The boys continue to bully and hurt Callum, bringing back memories of his attack. Meanwhile, Cindy strikes up a relationship with Callum. He discovers that she has an abusive, alcoholic father and promises himself to remedy the situation with or without her consent. Rick, who also wants to help, becomes his ally. However, when Cindy's father is arrested, she angrily lashes out at both of them. Tyler, who has had a crush on Cindy for years, attacks Callum with a knife. Events come to a dramatic climax as Callum shows the other teens his scars, also revealing the lasting affects of violence. The book starts off slowly, but the momentum builds as the numerous plotlines begin to come together. Throughout, Callum struggles to strike a balance between living with his fear and having the courage to stand up for himself. The straightforward language makes this book a good choice for reluctant readers.-Marie C. Hansen, New York Public Library
Posted December 26, 2013
Posted December 6, 2011