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September 1, 2008

The Trouble With Liberty

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The Trouble With Liberty 

Author: Kristin Butcher

Page Length: 88

Reading Level: 4.2

Genre: Realistic Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Liberty is the new girl in school and quickly becomes the most popular. Val, the narrator, befriends Liberty. Almost everyone is drawn to Liberty except for, Ryan, Val’s friend. Ryan knows that Liberty is up to no good. Liberty is a major flirt with the guys. Even when she exclusively dates Val’s brother Cody, Liberty flirts with other boys.

One day at school, Liberty decides to “talk” with her band teacher, Mr. Henderson, in private. After their short conversation, Liberty is found in the school office crying. Liberty has accused Mr. Henderson of rape. The band teacher is subsequently suspended. Everyone in school appears to be on Liberty’s side. However, Ryan distances himself from the situation. Val later confronts Ryan. At this point, Ryan reveals to Val that Liberty “came on” to Mr. Henderson by unbuttoning her blouse and throwing her chest onto the teacher. Ryan also tells Val that Liberty said that Mr. Henderson “will be sorry for this” after he asks her to leave his classroom. Ryan witnessed all of this because he had been sleeping in one of the band practice rooms.

Val finds it hard to completely believe Ryan’s story, however Val eventually confronts Liberty about these new-found details. Upon doing so, Liberty becomes upset. Fortunately Liberty’s mom overhears the conversation and turns her daughter in. Unfortunately, Mr. Henderson does not return to the school because he had put in his resignation before his name could be cleared.    

REVIEW: I enjoyed this book, because even though it was somewhat predictable, I felt the character of Liberty was very intriguing. Her actions, emotions, thoughts, and motives would make for an excellent character sketch. The topic of teacher/student misconduct is a very real one in today’s society. Evidence of such issues can be found in the media today. Like all other Orca Soundings books, it was an easy read and a short one.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: simile (pages 77 & 87), foreshadowing & predictions (page 17), characterization, cause and effect  

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: a teacher is accused of raping a student in this book

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: “Mean Girls” (2004)


REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

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