The gang's all here

25th May 2001 at 01:00
It's easy to assume that members of gangs are people who are easily led, afraid or unwilling to make a stand against dangerous or criminal ventures, or openly colluding in them. In her latest novel Tribes (Puffin pound;4.99) Catherine MacPhail shows how even those who see themselves as strong, as knowing the difference between right and wrong, can get dragged into something they don't approve of.

Kevin Davidson doesn't approve of fghting and thinks gangs are silly but the psychology of initiation and belonging gets the better of him. It's only when his sister's life is put at risk that he wakes up, but leaving the gang is even riskier than joining it. MacPhail's third children's novel is the work of an accomplished writer: a tightly written, pithy story with plenty of memorable characters and a haunting theme. Ideal as a PHSE resource for Year 6.

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