After severely injuring Peter Driscal in an empty parking lot, mischief-maker Cole Matthews is in major trouble. But instead of jail time, Cole is given another option: attend Circle Justice, an alternative program that sends juvenile offenders to a remote Alaskan Island to focus on changing their ways. Desperate to avoid prison, Cole fakes humility and agrees to go.
While there, Cole is mauled by a mysterious white bear and left for dead. Thoughts of his abusive parents, helpless Peter, and his own anger cause him to examine his actions and seek redemption—from the spirit bear that attacked him, from his victims, and from himself.
Life in the wilderness—exiled from civilization as a punishment for his violent behavior—had its own set of hurdles, but for fifteen-year-old Cole Matthews, it’s returning home and facing high school that he’s not sure he can handle.
With gangs and physical altercations haunting the hallways of their school, Cole and his former victim Peter—who Cole has now become friends with—must face it all together.
So when Peter’s limp and speech impediment make him a natural target to the bullies, Cole’s suppressed rage comes bubbling to the surface a lot quicker than he anticipated. Will he throw everything away that he learned on the healing, remote Alaskan island?
In this tale of teenage survival and self-awareness, Cole realizes it's not enough to change himself. He has to change his world.
Then one day from the safety of a tree, Gabi witnesses the sights and sounds of an unspeakable massacre. She vows to be Tree Girl no more and joins the hordes of refugees struggling to reach the Mexican border. She has lost her whole family; her entire village has been wiped out. Yet she clings to the hope that she will be reunited with her youngest sister, Alicia. Over dangerous miles and months of hunger and thirst, Gabriela's search for Alicia and for a safe haven becomes a search for self. Having turned her back on her own identity, can she hope to claim a new life?