Cole is angry. His father is angry, drinks, and beats him. His mother drinks and doesn't stop the beatings. Cole is so angry that he beats another boy, Peter, badly enough he suffers brain damage. Some people believe that prison is too good for Cole but some don't. They feel that a system known as Justice Circle might come up with an alternative that could have better results. Peter's parents and lawyer, Cole's parents and their lawyers, two Tlingit Indians, several other people from the community, and the judge meet to discuss Cole and his problems. Their solution is banishment to an island in Alaska to live by himself for one year.
"Everyone thought he felt sorry for what he had done, and going to this island was his way of making things right. Nothing could be further from the truth. To Cole, this was just another big game."
Of course, the first thing Cole does when left on the island is burn down his shelter and supplies. That'll show them! An unusual species of bear, known as the Spirit Bear, shows up on the island, and darn if it doesn't show Cole any fear. How dare it! Cole fashions a spear from a sapling and the next time that bear shows his face, Cole attacks him with the spear and a knife. Cole is rescued two days later after laying on the beach with broken ribs, pelvis, leg, and arm. Not being able to move and suffering unimagineable pain might make some do serious reflection.
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy survival stories and satisfying endings.
My rating for this book: +++++