The Second Trial by Rosemarie Boll

12:00 PM

Title: The Second Trial
Author: Rosemarie Boll
Release Date: April 1, 2010 (trade paperback)
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pages: 319
Source: Borrowed from Library

Overall: 3 Stars 

What do you do when your father becomes the enemy of your family? A thirteen year-old boy must leave his home, his school, and everything he knows when he goes into hiding with his mother and sister to escape an abusive father. Thirteen-year-old Danny never knew that his father was abusing his mother, until the day his father almost killed her. Now he finds himself in court as his mother fights to have his father kept in jail to keep the family safe. But Danny can’t believe that he is a danger to them, cannot reconcile the father he looks up to with the man who almost took his mother’s life. When the limits of the justice system allow his father to be released, Danny’s mother decides that he and his little sister must accompany her into hiding. They will go to another city and begin a new life, with new identities. And so begins the second trial in Danny’s life, as everything he’s known is taken from him. How can he be happy in this new life, where he has a new name, no friends, and none of the comforts he’s used to? As his mother struggles to support the family, Danny is torn between loving and hating her, blaming her for everything. In his anger he turns to the school’s gang of bullies, but a young girl named Nixxie might be his way to find acceptance in this new life. 

My Thoughts:
I don't think I could ever read The Second Trial for its enjoyment, it deals with subject matter that is too serious for that. Once finishing this novel, you'll have a better understanding of how domestic abuse affects not just victims, but so many other family members and friends as well. It's not talked about so often in YA, so I appreciated Rosemarie Boll's debut novel all the more.

For Danny McMillan, it was the beginning of the end of his parent's marriage when he dialed 9-1-1 after finding his mother seriously hurt at the bottom of the stairs... and what would come to proceed would change his life forever. During the trial, Danny learns that his father is not the man he thought he always was and that he's been abusing his mother for years. So when his father receives a very light sentence, Danny, his younger sister, and his mother enter into a witness protection program complete with new identities and a new home... fearing for their lives. But Danny's not sure of anything anymore... least of all what the future has in store for him.

There were moments when I literally wanted to throw this book at a wall. My outrage matched Danny's mother's horror at learning that her soon to be ex-husband would be getting off light for what he had done. It was seriously upsetting to learn that after years of abuse- after his mother finally got the courage to speak up- that the Canadian legal justice system could fail them when they needed it to help them the most. I completely sympathized with Danny's mother and couldn't imagine the pain and anguish she must have felt when she heard the final verdict. She's a resilient and strong women though, so while many others would have simply given up, she doesn't give up hope for the future and focuses on her main priorities... protecting herself and her children.

Danny was a whole other matter though. Only thirteen years old, he's not quite old enough yet to recognize the seriousness of the situation or the years of abuse his mother has been hiding for quite some time. He doesn't fully believe that his father could be so dangerous and is angry at the way his life has changed so much in so little time. He begins to lash out at others, especially his mother, and acts like life sucks so he should just stop trying anymore. It was frustrating because it does seem natural that he would begin to act out, but I was also really disappointed with many of the choices he made in this novel.

The Second Trial is a novel about speaking up for yourself and finding the hidden courage you never thought you had. Life's not always easy and the bad guys do get away more often than they should... but this doesn't mean you just give up. It's a novel that touches on serious subjects but at the end of the day, it still remains to be a hopeful one. 

*The Second Trial is nominated for the 2011 White Pine Award.*

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  1. I've never heard of this one before, but I like the sound of the message. I don't read nearly enough poignant books like this. Great honest review! :)

  2. It sounds like a hard to read book :( thanks for the honest review.

  3. Beautiful review Liz, I haven't heard much about this one either, but it sounds incredibly intense and powerful. I know exactly what you mean about not reading this one for any sort of enjoyment factor, I've read a couple books like that and their ones I won't be re-reading, but ones that stay with me no matter how many other books I read!

  4. I think I shall buy this one. Awesome review. I normally would pass it up but glad I stopped y and read your review

  5. I'm reading The Second Trial right now for the White Pine club at my high school. I've been looking for a book to affect me on an emotional level and I'm hoping this is it. Great review!

  6. this was really stupid cause i wan to read this book not look at reviews! >:( so geez i cant find a damn book on here that i can read and when i do it wont go to the page i want!! so UHH i hate this!

    1. well then go buy the book! geez stop crying bout it! loser :U

  7. Write your reply to this message here.

    i am in the middle of this book and i also want to throw this book at my bedroom wall!!!!!
    i am too 13 years old but i am aware if your mom is getting absued it is best if she is divorced. Danny is honestly such a stupid character. he wants to forgive his dad for all the stupid things his dad has did. i agree he gave flowers to her after the "escalator incident" but giving flowers dosent erase all the memories.