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The Second Trial

The Second Trial

4.0 1
by Rosemarie Boll

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Danny McMillan never knew that his father was abusing his mother, until a night of violence that shattered his family forever. Watching in the courtroom as his father is sentenced, Danny struggles with divided loyalties – to his mother on one side and to his father whom he wants to forgive on the other. After one trial is over, another begins for Danny. Social


Danny McMillan never knew that his father was abusing his mother, until a night of violence that shattered his family forever. Watching in the courtroom as his father is sentenced, Danny struggles with divided loyalties – to his mother on one side and to his father whom he wants to forgive on the other. After one trial is over, another begins for Danny. Social services and the police convince Danny’s mother that they must go into a victim protection program. Danny is asked to leave everything behind – his home, his friends, and the love and support of his grandparents. In a new city and attending a new school, Danny is even given a new name – David Mayer. But who is David? He is someone that Danny does not want to be, living a life he cannot accept. As David, he is pushing boundaries he never would have pushed.

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"Boll is a lawyer and her background in family law shows in this well-informed and uncompromising novel. This kind of story is often not presented in such ordinary surroundings and I admire the author's choice of everday realism."
Canadian Children's Book News
"Danny is a sympathetic character and reactions to the drastic changes in his life are believable for a young teen...Suspense is sustained throughout as the reader waits to discover if Danny can make the right decision and accept his new life."
Library Media Connection
"A great story of upheaval and change."
CM Magazine
"The author has an intricate understanding of the Canadian legal system and the means by which domestic violence charges are dealt with in court…Boll's psychological exploration of Danny is particularly compelling and effective…A natural fit in a public or school library…Recommended."
VOYA - Ava Ehde
Danny is unwilling or unable to accept the fact that his father is abusing his mother, although experts at the trial say his father will likely kill her next time. She has made excuses and kept the beatings a secret for many years. Even after the latest altercation, when Danny hears his father threaten to shoot her and finds her badly injured at the bottom of the stairs, he still wants to believe that it is an aberrant event rather than a growing danger. Paul, Danny's father, is always encouraging and engaging him, finding activities and interests to pursue together, although this is not the case with his sister, Jennifer. Unfortunately, Danny hasn't taken note of the fact that in addition to constantly putting his mother down, Paul pushes away and discourages her friends and family. Now the justice system is involved, and with the help of friends in legal and social services, his mother takes him and his sister to live in a new city with new identities. Danny can't accept all that he has lost and rebels at every turn. This first-time author provides a thoughtful account of life amid the world of domestic abuse, where children can feel confused when adults are not who they pretend to be. Sadly, this topic affects too many families, so it's timely and helpful to have this insightful literature for assignments and general interest in both public and school libraries. Reviewer: Ava Ehde
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This is a rather disturbing book, but I think that it is meant to be so. Domestic abuse is a "hot topic" right now, and the author has given us a realistic view of how abuse affects an entire community. She is an attorney from Edmonton, Alberta who specializes in "the complex network of laws that govern our everyday lives, and explaining what the justice system can and cannot do." Her protagonist is thirteen-year-old Danny, whose father has been abusing his mother for years. The mother has been living a lie for all these years, unwilling to admit even to herself that the man whom she loves, the father of her children, is a sick bully whose apologies to her mean absolutely nothing. He will continue to beat her up, blaming her, destroying her self-esteem, separating her from her family, and any possible support system she might have had. But now that Danny and Jennifer, his younger sister, have seen her unconscious on the floor, she decides to leave the marriage. She presses charges against her husband; there is a trial, and he is found guilty. Her friend on the police force convinces her that neither she nor the children will be safe once her husband gets out of prison. The witness protection program has been designed to make the family safe, but it is not easy. They will have to live another set of lies—they will have to change their names and their histories, they will have to move, and it is likely that they will never see their grandparents again. This moving portrait of a troubled family, coping with a situation they never planned for, is a real page turner. It is, however, difficult for this librarian to figure out who its audience is. Adults? Definitely. Children? Not so much. Teens? Very possibly. Danny is by turns hostile, frightened, childish, sophisticated—in other words a real boy. Recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Thirteen-year-old Danny sits sullenly in a Canadian courtroom as the details of his father's trial unfold. Readers learn how the man has brutalized his wife for years. Danny doesn't believe it; his father has always been great with him. His mother's lawyer warns that her life is in danger, and after his father gets a light sentence, they are barreling toward some sort of victim-protection program. Suddenly he is packing and saying good-bye to his grandparents forever. His younger sister and his mother try to tell him that they were telling the truth, and that this is the only way. But Danny has plans of his own. He'll wait until Christmas, and then he'll call his dad and things can get back to normal. When they get to their new home with their new identities, the boy's attitude gets steadily worse as he falls in with the wrong crowd and starts shoplifting, ditching school, and smoking. This story is beautifully told, and readers will be pulled along with Danny as he slowly comes to face reality and his own demons. With most of the graphic violence offstage, this story is sensitive enough for younger readers to handle, yet the characters seem so real.—Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO

Product Details

Second Story Press
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File size:
573 KB
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Rosemarie Boll has been practicing family law for over 20 years. She has written extensively on the legal system and how it affects families. She is committed to educating the public about the complex network of laws which govern our everyday lives, and explaining what the justice system can and cannot do. She currently practices with the Family Law Office of Legal Aid Alberta. Rosemarie lives in Edmonton, Alberta. The Second Trial is her first book.

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The Second Trial 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Danny McMillan loves his dad, so coming to terms with the fact that the man is on trial for physically and emotionally abusing Danny's mom is taking its toll. Danny's mom thinks it is important for Danny to attend the sentencing hearing in hopes that he can come to terms with the reality of this horrible situation. As Danny sits in court and listens to details of his life he never knew existed, anger and fear begin to build. Although he loves his mother, he still can't believe that the father who spent time with him and taught him everything he knows is capable of the abuse being described in the courtroom. When the final sentence calls for his father to be held just a short time in prison instead of the seven years requested by the prosecuting attorney, Danny sees it as a second chance for his family. That means there is hope that his father can return home, his mother can forgive and forget, and they can pick up with life as it was before all this drama. The hopes that Danny have are destroyed soon after the trial, when several strangers begin meeting with his mother. He quickly learns that these people believe the only way his mother will be safe from his abusive father is for them to leave everything and everyone behind to start a new life. He has never heard of the NIVA (New Identities for Victims of Abuse), but it now takes over his life. He and his mother and younger sister will be given new names and identities, and they will be forced to relocate and begin a new life. The whole idea fills Danny with rage. How can they say his father will never change? Now, it will be up to Danny to find a way to reunite the family or come to terms with his new reality. THE SECOND TRIAL is the story of a family torn apart by one abusive individual. Author Rosemarie Boll deftly describes the years of abuse Danny's mother suffered in silence. Her prose begins to explain the mystery of why abused women continue to live in physical and emotional turmoil instead of packing up and leaving it behind. Boll uses her own professional knowledge of similar circumstances to illustrate the fear, the anger, and the eventual acceptance of how life is changed for families like Danny's. Readers should appreciate the honest, straight-forward approach in which this novel is presented.