cover image A Good Courage

A Good Courage

Stephanie S. Tolan. Morrow Junior Books, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07446-3

Fourteen-year-old Ty (actually Tie-Dye) has always lived from pillar to post, following his mother from one Utopian community to another. So he's not too concerned when his name is changed yet again as he and his mother settle in at The Kingdom, a religious settlement run by Brother Daniel. But Ty quickly finds that life for children at The Kingdom is not as rosy as it is for adults. While his mother is immersed in religious studies, Ty bunks in with other boys (girls are kept separate) who work seven days a week and are fed scanty rations because they are not yet ""Yahweh's Chosen.'' Ty's independence gets him in trouble and he is shut up in the ``Cage'' for a week. Aided by Samarah, a girl he has befriended, he escapes and goes to the police, only to be returned to The Kingdom, and to his mother's recriminations. In the only scene that doesn't quite ring true, Ty and Sam are allowed to leave by an unlikely accomplice, Brother Daniel's son Benjamin. The book does bring up some very pertinent points about responsibility, family loyalty and independent thinking, and this is a gripping, somewhat frightening look at a fanatical religious community. Ages 12-up. (April)