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of the Orca Soundings series
Selected as an 2005
American Library Association (YALSA)
Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
written and instantly engaging... Highly recommended."
This is Mickey's first year at Grandview High. After transferring, all he wants to do is keep his head down, work hard and fit in with the upscale crowd. He is approached, because of his tough reputation, to join a group of students to take back the school from the bullies. Mickey finds himself caught up in a shadowy world of violence and retribution. When their planned payback goes horribly wrong, Mickey is forced to acknowledge the thin line between victim and victimizer.
"So, what do you say?" said Peter. "You guys ready to help put a stop to it?"
"Put a stop to it?" said Whisper. "Are you kidding? You've been watching too many Bruce Willis videos, man. What can the four of us do?"
"They must be punished," said Birgit quietly. "And it will be a warning to others. Word will get around. It will no longer be the law of the jungle. It will be law and order, decency and dignity."
"You're out of your mind," said Whisper.
"No, I'm not. I know I'm right."
"So we're to be, what? A high school SWAT team? A hit squad?"
FROM ANDREA KLEPATZ, CM MAGAZINE (October 17, 2003). Highly Recommended, **** out of 4. Micky Cord, 14, is a tough, street-smart foster kid from a poverty stricken neighborhood. With a vague idea of bettering himself and getting a good education, he transfers to the posh Grandview High School. Unfortunately, even rich schools have problems, as Micky soon finds out. The bullies rule the school. No one is safe from them; even Micky cannot avoid becoming a target, and the school administration is unable to stop the violence. Unexpectedly, Micky is invited to join a "special secret society" whose aim is to punish the bullies, bring order to the school and ensure that good triumphs over evil. The group's leader, attractive, blond-haired Birgit Neilsen, persuades Micky to join her "Hit Squad." More interested in Birgit than the group, Micky goes along with their plans. However, after the success of the first hit, Micky begins to struggle with the morality of the group's actions. When the next hit goes terribly wrong, Micky must face the consequences of the squad's actions. Heneghan writes in an eminently readable style without shirking from the real issues that teens are facing in schools today. Despite the main character's flaws, the reader becomes attached to him and his struggle. Tightly written and instantly engaging, Hit Squad has immense appeal both to teen male and female reluctant readers. Andrea Klepatz works as a social worker and is currently finishing a Bachelor of Education in Winnipeg, MB.
FROM KELSEY SANDS, TEEN REVIEWER, VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES, (Voice of Youth Advocates Magazine, December 1, 2003). In this short story "Hit Squad," a young teen learns a very important lesson through the tragic death of a friend who admired him enough to do whatever he wanted. Hulk, around eighteen years old, was deprived of oxygen in his infancy, leaving him a gentle giant with a brain problem. All he wants to do is please. He is my favorite character because he is a tool (tragically) to help a young person learn a hard lesson. The book is based on a school with a lot of bullying problems, where some students seek to form a 'Hit Squad' that punishes the bullies by something on their own standards. The moral of this story is to find means other than violence for getting your point across. This book will appeal to fifth graders and up who like reading real life scenarios..