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by Jean Ferris  |  Grades 8-12  |  Lexile Level  730

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.

Dallas's story gives readers an excellent opportunity to see the many angles involved in such issues as peer pressure, family failings, rehabilitation, personal growth, and societal expectations. Ferris researched her topic well and the authenticity she invests in the novel will draw in both avid and reluctant readers.

Available Teacher Guides, Lesson Plans, Novel Units, and Activities for Bad by Jean Ferris: