Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ghost of Spirit Bear Book Review

Ghost of Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Recommended for readers ages 11 to 17. Hey, I'm 44, and I really enjoyed it. My 14 year old got right in to it too.

Cole was a violent kid. He beat up Peter, causing permanent brain damage. His punishment was exile to a remote island off of Alaska. Peter was invited to be on the island with his. Yes, the same boy he beat up.

While on the island Cole learns a lot about himself and his heart. Being attacked by a spirit bear his perspective really changes.

Cole and Peter head back to the city after their time on the island. They are met with a high school that is full of violence, bullies, vandals, etc.

Cole and Peter are told to fight from their heart, not their fists. Besides, if they get in to a fight, they will go to jail. One group of 5 boys is especially hard on Peter. Being handicapped due to his beating makes him a prime target.

Together, the boys try to do things as close to how they did them on the island. Things like sitting in a store freezer to clear their minds. They bought used bowling balls and went to an abandoned building to throw them down the stairs.

It was at this building that they ran into an old homeless man. He never realy spoke to him. They were a little afraid of him. Throughout the story, this homeless man pops in to a lot of places where they are, and then disappears. They compare him to the spirit bear, in fact, at one point they see him lay something in the grass before he disappears. When they go to investigate they find it's a small carved statue of a bear.

When things go from bad to worse at their school....Peter gets beat up by a gang in the school bathroom, and one girl that is constantly being called a slut commits suicide.....Cole takes a stand with the principal and tells her that things must change.

She agrees, no longer afraid of losing her job, that the students come first. They put together some things and the students seem to warm up to the ideas. One of the ideas is to change the school mascot from the Raging Bulldogs to The Spirit Bear.

Changing the school mascot becomes a fight for Cole as he has to take on the school board and angry parents. In the end he does get the approval for the change.

Wondering what ever came about with the homeless man? I was wondering too as the book came to an end. It's a nice surprise ending with that (and no, I'm not telling).

I hope I've told you enough about the book to spark an interest in reading it. It's a touching tale of making the world a better place, one person at a time. This is where I agree with the recommended reading for ages 11-17. I'm not sure that it shouldn't be required school reading!

Buy the book here:
Ghost of Spirit Bear

Or buy it in audiobook here:
Ghost of Spirit Bear, Narrated By Jason Harris, 3 Cds [Complete & Unabridged Audio Work]

This review is part of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge that I am taking part in.
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