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Author explores at-risk teen girls’ behavior

By Laurie Perrone

Observer Guest Correspondent

“Bad” is an intriguing young adult novel about teens overcoming risky behavior written by Jean Ferris.

Since the dawn of time we have been analyzing and defining coming-of-age, yet we still come up short in finding any “absolutes.” With every generation there will always be something ugly about coming-of- age catching us off-guard thus leaving us to ask ourselves where we might have gone wrong.

Jean Ferris, author of the young adult novel, “Bad,” first took steps researching the subject and interviewing urban teens in a girls’ rehabilitation center before writing this brutally honest book.

Ferris does not promise any “absolutes,” but she does remain candid and thorough in her work. Through her main character, Dallas, Ferris illustrates how truly difficult it is for any young person to walk away from criminal patterns. Ferris uses the technique of story shifting well, depicting the realistic recovery process in rehabilitation. Parts of the story show Dallas slowly gaining momentum through personal victories only to abruptly slip into small relapses.

Ferris shoots from the hip in her story-telling, demanding the attention of her audience, and capturing empathy from those willing enough to examine and digest urban teen life against the backdrop of innercity blight. From beginning to end she is unafraid of exposing other gritty teen issues such as teen substance addiction, girl street gangs, teen pregnancy, amoral institution mentality, teen violence and inmate abuse.

“Bad” is an excellent documentary- style novel that rivets the mind in unexpected ways, expressing how urban teens must re-learn trust, love and self-respect in the midst of regaining stolen or lost innocence from years of tough survival.

To see more about author Jean Ferris and her work, go to http://www.jeanferris.com/ my_works.htm.

The author’s works have earned her many nominations and awards. Most recently, she was nominated for the 2008/2009 Children’s Choice Award by the Missouri Association of School Librarians.

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