TORN AWAY by James Heneghan


Age Range: 11 - 14
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 A teenage terrorist, forcibly removed from Belfast, discovers that there's more to life than revenge. With his father shot down and his mother and sister killed by a car bomb, Declan believes he has nothing to hope for but vengeance, but his career is cut short when he's captured and, despite several desperate and clever attempts to escape, sent to his uncle Matthew in British Columbia. Declan is disgusted to learn that Matthew and his wife Kate are ``fixers'': gentle and peace-loving, the sort of people who adopt orphans and heal injured animals--but not Declan, he vows. He strikes a deal: He'll stop trying to get away and even go to school if, after three months, he can go back to Ireland. Declan is a credible, even a likable, character, shaped by his violent environment (demonstrating how he pelted British troops with nail- studded apples, he kills a squirrel and is genuinely surprised by witnesses' outrage) but not irredeemably hardened; in the end, the forest's quiet beauty and the pleasures of having a family again work in him the change of heart that appeals to morality and intellect could not. Heneghan gives glimpses of injustices perpetrated by every side in Northern Ireland, suggesting no easy cures but offering the insight that even some of the villains are victims. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-670-85180-9
Page count: 186pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1994


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