Bad: A Novel (Aerial Fiction)

Bad: A Novel (Aerial Fiction)

  • Publish Date: 2001-09-12
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Jean Ferris
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Inspired by the author's work in a girls' rehabilitation center.

Ray called it skating when we did the crazy things . . . Hot-wiring a fancy car for a joyride after midnight. Boosting stuff from stores . . .

Sixteen-year-old Dallas loves the rush, the excitement of "skating." But then she and her friends decide to rob a convenience store and it's Dallas who gets caught while the others get away. Since it is her first offense, she thinks her father will help her out - but when the judge says she can go home on probation her father says no, he can't control her. So the judge gives Dallas six months in the Girls' Rehabilitation Center. Once there, Dallas meets an assortment of "bad" girls, many of whom don't expect to change, and those who do often don't make it. How Dallas comes to terms with herself - both the bad and the good - makes for a heartfelt and insightful novel about troubled teenagers and the odds they face in trying to turn their lives around.

"I guess, if you have to, you can get used to anything--even to violence breaking out, like an attack of the hiccups or something, and then going away as suddenly as it started. But, like Shatasia said, you could never get all the way relaxed about it."

Such is the life of 16-year-old Dallas now that she's been confined for six months to a juvenile detention facility for girls. Dallas used to love "skating" with her rebellious friends--shoplifting, hot-wiring cars, and purse-snatching--but she never expected to be caught with a gun. After being peer pressured into holding up a convenience store (her pals promptly disappearing when the authorities show up), and abandoned by her father who refuses custody, Dallas's world changes forever. In the rehabilitation center she must adjust to shared living quarters, structured schedules, lectures on drugs and sex, and countless volatile personalities. But amid all the chaos and tension and rules, Dallas also finds nurture--perhaps more than she ever received from her cold dad and absent mom.

Author of Invincible Summer, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Jean Ferris paints a vivid portrait of the girls' facility, complete with fiery adolescent tempers, lost souls, and small but precious hopes for different lives. Dallas's voice is particularly poignant--young, introspective, and honest about the likelihood of her rehabilitation. Rather than forcing a cheery ending, Ferris keeps it real, leaving Dallas standing in the doorway on the day of her release, suitcase in hand, wondering what's next. (Ages 13 to 16) --Brangien Davis

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