The Last Safe Place on Earth

Richard Peck, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15.95 (161p) ISBN 978-0-385-32052-8
Fifteen-year-old Todd's dreams of a girlfriend seem on the verge of coming true when demure Laurel, a new student, becomes his kid sister Marnie's regular baby-sitter. But sweet-seeming Laurel has a strange effect on Marnie. As Peck's (Unfinished Portrait of Jessica) taut, suspenseful novel gradually reveals, Laurel's family belongs to a Christian group that seeks to ban Halloween traditions (``It is dangerous enough that children are brainwashed by the supernatural, witchcraft, devil worship, and heathen decorations throughout their grade-school years'') and, worse, to eliminate books from the high school curricula, including Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl (it ``clearly asserts all religions are equally valid''). Todd and his family join forces to undo Laurel's damage to Marnie and-on a grander scale-to fight for the civil liberties of the students and the community at large; in the process, they realize the importance of looking beyond people's carefully constructed facades. By portraying Laurel and her fellow prayer group members as vulnerable and troubled rather than simply opinionated, and by grounding the story in everyday details, Peck gets his message across clearly, and without much smugness. A highly topical tale. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1995
Release date: 02/01/1995
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.