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Ghost of Spirit Bear (Spirit Bear, 2) Paperback – March 30, 2010
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“Mikaelsen provides a seamless transition between the two stories, as well as a highly satisfying resolution, and readers will find that, despite the new setting, this novel is just as much a survival story as its predecessor.” -- ALA Booklist
From the Back Cover
In the wilderness, Cole found peace. But this isn't the great outdoors. it's high school.
At fifteen, Cole Matthews faced a prison sentence for slamming another student's head against a sidewalk. To avoid prison, he volunteered for Native American Circle Justice and agreed to a year in exile on a remote Alaskan island. There he was mauled by the legendary Spirit Bear and nearly faced death . . . but finally found redemption.
Now, his banishment over, he has to return home and face the one thing he may not be able to handle: high school. Gangs haunt the hallways. Cole finds violence at every turn and as the hate-filled school reaches its boiling point, the hibernating rage inside Cole begins to stir. In this tale of urban survival and self-awareness, Cole realizes it's not enough to change himself. He has to change his world.
- ASIN : 006009009X
- Publisher : HarperCollins; Reprint edition (March 30, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 176 pages
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Lexile measure : 700L
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Item Weight : 4.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.12 x 0.35 x 7.62 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #48,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As for the things I like, this book has a strong message of justice, forgiveness, and taking your life into your own hands. Those are really valuable things for teens to learn - that they CAN make change if they persevere. It did a very good job following up on how the lessons Cole learned in the island don't translate directly into the real world, which I think is very helpful in digesting how YOU as the reader can implement change in your own behavior, even if you can't move to a remote island.
The things I didn't like about this book, however, are a little more varied.
I understand that certain things about Cole are based on his past, but I think there was an unrealistic teetering between his delinquent personality and his reformed personality. His aggression toward Garvey when Garvey won't spell things out for him was excessive. I feel like it would be more realistic for him to be passively annoyed about it rather than lashing out. He's known Garvey a long time at this point and he knows from experience that he's incredible wise and experienced. Everything he says has meaning and with the number of times he's proven to be right, I find it unrealistic that Cole would have so little faith in him. One moment, Cole is yelling at Garvey over the phone saying he doesn't know what he's talking about and the next, he's preaching forgiveness and understanding. I know people are flawed, but this seemed more like the author had a vision for the good and changed person Cole was supposed to be but felt he needed to balance it out. Except, in the balancing process, he overcorrected to outward aggression when it would have made more sense for his aggression to be suppressed.
The next thing I didn't like about this book is subjective, but something I feel very strongly about. As someone who grew up in an abusive household, I do NOT like that this book endorses trying to help your abuser. I don't think there's anything wrong with being cordial toward an abuser in the occasion that you come across them, but this book actively encourages its readers to reach out. I think the author had good intentions with this, but the target audience is very impressionable and in the real world, a very high percentage of abusers will not change. There are many that do, but encouraging a teenager, who for all intents and purposes is a child, to reach out and take responsibility for their abusive, adult parent, is horrible writing. Accepting an apology and reconnecting after an abuser has already changed their behavior and wishes to right their wrongs is one thing, but trying to fix them when they're still unrepentant and blaming everyone around them is absolutely detrimental to the healing process of an abuser survivor. Abuse survivors already have serious problems with trying to help their abusers, because it's almost always someone they love (like a parent or significant other). This is one of the reasons the cycle of abuse is so hard to break free of. Having a book encourage this in the band of love and healing is the main reason I knocked my rating down to two stars. I absolutely can't endorse this.
The next thing I didn't like about this book was how sensationalist it felt. There was this constant feeling that Cole was some kind of saint because of his experiences. I know that's not how it was meant to come across, but let me tell you, as a teenager - and even now as a young adult - I would have hated him. He became one of those people who seems like he's on a high horse, constantly regaling his story of redemption in a way that feels like he's trying to show off how 'wise' he is for his age. Teenagers hate that shit. There is absolutely no way that an entire school of students would have backed him when he came off like some kind of holier than thou wiseass. Teenagers in particular, find people like that to be obnoxious. That's why I'd you try to preach your Christianity or something at school, other students will steer clear of you or bully you. It's downright annoying.
The last thing I didn't like about this book was the ending. The author uses coincidence and what was seemingly supernatural to tie up loose ends. It didn't feel satisfying to me and it felt like a cop-out.
All in all, this book had decent parts to it but I cannot recommend it. I know next to nothing about the author's personal life, but this whole book came off like an abuser's 'we can change if you just stick around and get hit long enough' wet dream.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in Canada on February 12, 2021