Calgary Herald Review - Power Plays

Calgary Herald
Reviewed by: Suzanne Beaubien

Maureen Ulrich scores a hat trick with her soon-to-be released teen novel 'Power Plays'. Not only are the book's characters relatable and the story packed with heart-pounding hockey action, but 'Power Plays delivers an important message in a world where girl-on-girl violence has become all too common: standing up to bullies is the only way to end the type of torment that can lead kids down a dangerous path to depression, drug use and even suicide. And she does all this without seeming heavy-handed or preachy 'Power Plays', to be released in September, is the first book for Ulrich, a middle-school teacher who was raised in Edmonton and Calgary but now lives in Saskatchewan. In the novel, 14-year-old Jessie finds herself facing some serious bullying when she moves from Saskatoon to Estevan. She ends up blocking e-mails from the kids at her new school after Kim Scott, a popular girl and talented hockey player, spreads gossip about her on tackles other tough topics, such as racism -minority members of the Estevan Xtreme cope with on-ice insults, sexism -male teachers who are oblivious to bullying by their female students, and drug and alcohol use. When Jessie is forced into a car with a group of older teens bent on beating her up, one can't help but think of Nina Courtepatte, the 13-year-old Edmonton girl murdered on a golf course after being led to a 'party' there in April 2005. But Jessie's story is ultimately one of triumph - the former ringette player finds friendship after joining the girls hockey team, and stands up to her tormentors without resorting to violence. Suzanne Beaubien, For Neighbours.

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