Sarah's Stars

Ben Mikaelsen. Touching Spirit Bear
Harper Trophy, ISBN 0-380-80560-X  $8.95  241 pg.

When Garvey first meets the youth , the boy's anger is consuming.  Cole, a juvenile delinquent, has been in and out of trouble too many times. After seriously injuring the boy who reported the theft, both physically and mentally, it looks like jail for this fifteen year old bully.  Cole decides to do this  'Circle Justice thing' Garvey talks about. He swears he is ready to take the 'healing path', seeing it as his only way out of jail. His confinement on an island for a year is his sentence, a year in which he will be alone, alone to learn from his mistakes ... but will he?

Wow! That's the word I would have chosen off the top of my head to describe Touching Spirit Bear after reading it.   Definitely a five star book. It's a relatively new book (copyright 2001) about the trials of growing up and the consequences faced in today's society. Ben Mikaelsen has written many other novels (Red Midnight, Rescue, Josh McGuire, Sparrow Hawk Red, Stranded, Countdown and Petey), all based on similar themes. The one I've recently read, Petey, was also very intriguing.

I would say that boys and girls, ages 12 years and up, would be captivated by this thought-provoking novel. Mikaelsen's subject isn't new, but it is certainly making the headlines these days.


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