30 March 2011

Saving Sam by Susan Brocker


Saving Sam by Susan Brocker (HarperCollins)

Paperback ISBN 9781869507435

A dramatic dog fight scene opens the book and grabs your attention. Then we meet Ben. His mother is dead and now his dad’s in jail again so he and 16-year-old brother Sam are left to stay with their Aunt Ida and Uncle Joe, for a while at least. Ben makes friends with a filthy terrified dog his uncle has bought, and persuades them to let him take care of her. He names her Layla, cleans her up and gains her confidence, finding comfort and companionship together. Ben makes a friend at school who also has a dog and he joins her at dog training classes where they discover Layla’s history as a police dog. They’re going to need to be a good team and use all Layla’s skills too, as big brother Sam is on the road to destruction, led into the world of serious drugs by a teacher at school, a teacher who makes Ben’s life a misery every chance he gets. There’s drama, action, and strong emotion, making this a touching and thrilling read for 11-14 year olds, with a strong anti-drug message for good measure.

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