by Dianne Linden
ISBN: 1550502719

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A Review of: Peacekeepers
by M.J. Fishbane

In Dianne Linden's novel Peacekeepers Nellie Letita Hopkins's mother is a peacekeeper on assignment in Bosnia. Nellie lives with her bachelor Uncle Martin and her troubled younger brother Mike and goes to a school that she affectionately calls, "JAWS." Linden parallels Nellie's struggle for survive at school with her mother's experiences in Bosnia. After being threatened by Bonnie, one of the school bullies, for standing up to Bonnie's boyfriend, Nellie is afraid to go to school. Nellie feels that her own personal safely is in jeopardy. She gets help from her friend Sam and his older brother Ziad, who watch out for her as she exits through the school's side door.
Linden writes in the first person and makes Nellie instantly accessible to the reader. For example, when Nellie returns to school, she sees Sam and asks the reader, "You remember him?" This approach reinforces the reader's sense of Nellie's isolation, but it also draws the reader into the middle of the action.
Nellie's mother's email correspondence is the novel's second narrative. When Nellie defiantly reads one of the emails marked as confidential, she discovers that one of the children her mother had been writing about had stepped on a landmine and died. She is now confronted with a very different kind of danger.
Unfortunately, Linden becomes slightly preachy and overly reliant on stereotypes. Bonnie is a bully partly because her parents are divorced and she craves attention. She is described as wearing a leather jacket, blue jeans, and sporting spiked hair and a lot of rings on her lower lip. In contrast, Nellie wears simple blue jeans and t-shirt. As well, once Nellie begins to open up, her uncle, his new girlfriend and the school principal support her. The conclusion becomes clich. In many cases, teens do not feel like they have a compassionate ear to confide in, and I am not convinced that this book will provide a good argument for doing so-particularly for those whose tongue maybe pierced.

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