Dangerous Comrades: a Misadventure in Gang Affiliation
Dangerous Comrades: A Misadventure In Gang Affiliation
Julie Bonn Heath
ISBN: 1413708447 $14.95 86 Pages
"'What in the world is the matter with you?' her mom asked. 'You look like you've seen a ghost.'
Dani was speechless. 'I ...' she faltered."
--From the book, Dangerous Comrades.
Dangerous Comrades is a compellingly honest story about the struggles of Dani Winters, a young twelve year old girl. After her move from Oregon to Washington state, she finds herself awkwardly shy and without friends. When she meets Pepper, Shy and Loco, members of the Fifty-Fourth Street Pirates, they take her under their wing; calling her after school, dropping by her window for a visit and even giving her fifty bucks for a new game she wanted! She finally feels accepted and loved. Yet, almost before she realizes it, she begins lying, sneaking out of her bedroom and eventually becomes a member of the gang as she tries to repay them for their friendship. Dani finds herself caught between doing what's right and pleasing her friends, including the good looking M-Dog. Will she realize she doesn't owe them her life before it is too late?
In her first novel for youth, Mrs. Heath does a beautiful job of truthfully painting as one would see them, the struggles, pain, peer pressure, indecision and isolation of a young girl. Dani's desperate need to find acceptance from others, to the rude awakening that they betrayed her will strike a familiar chord in the heart of all who read her story. It is as much a book on real friendships as it is on gang affiliation! Unlike the all too common practice of leaving the reader hanging after the climax, Mrs. Heath brings her readers through with Dani till the end, creating an artful picture of the aftermath and emotional feelings that come with gang affiliation. More importantly, she shows practical ways on how to get out and stay out, leaving her reader with a sure feeling of contentment. Dangerous Comrades opens the doors of hope for trapped gang members as well as, in the same word, brings understanding and relevance for young people who don't even realize the danger of becoming involved in a gang.
Dangerous Comrades is a great tool and enjoyable treasure for youth leaders to share with their group, parents to read with their preteen/teen and of course, the teen themselves! It brings understanding on a subject so vitally important yet so often forgotten. Dangerous Comrades is a must read for youth of all ages and--for those who love them.