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New Blood
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New Blood

By Peter McPhee

$9.95 Paperback
In Stock Ships in 24hrs or or less
Also available from our distributor Lerner Publisher Services
$8.95 Ebook
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Series: Lorimer SideStreets

Rating: 0 vote(s).

After a gang of thugs beat him up, Paul's parents decide they've had enough of Glasgow's tough streets and move the family to Winnipeg. Still healing from his injuries, Paul also has deep inner scars that will make his new high school, in this new country, even more of a battleground. New Blood is an edgy yet moving account of violence, bullying, recovery, and hope.

[Fry Reading Level - 3.6

The straightforward language makes this book a good choice for reluctant readers.

- Marie C. Hansen Library Journal (US)

"McPhee is a talented writer and a good story-teller. Callum's story comes alive and it is one that many teens could relate to whether they have faced violence in their lives or not."

- Angela Thompson Resource Links Volume 13, Number 3

Moving from Glasgow to Winnipeg has to constitute one of the biggest culture shocks of all time. However, Callum and his family are willing to do whatever it takes to leave the past behind and forget the vicious attack that almost took Callum's life. A thoughtful, sensitive young Scot, Callum always seems to find himself in the middle of confrontation or the target of violence. Despite a valiant attempt to start over in a strange city, Callum once again finds himself caught in a web of conflict; only this time, the biggest danger comes from the most unexpected place.

New Blood is more than just another novel about bullying. While the "new kid on the block" motif can feel tired and predictable, Callum's Scottish heritage brings a unique twist. Peter McPhee brilliantly captures a foreign perspective of a sweltering Winnipeg summer, pointing out that Callum and his family suffer from a weak immunity to mosquito bites. The family chats that take place on the deck at dusk also feel believable; this prairie native certainly remembers fleeing outside at the first sign of a cool breeze on a sweltering July evening.

The real epicenter of McPhee's talents is his remarkable ability to describe physical pain; from the wincing reminders of old injuries, to the acute blows of fists, kicks, and blades, every moment of Callum's painful encounters is palpable and raw. Instead of staging fights from the perspective of a detached choreographer, McPhee makes readers feel every broken blood vessel and every tear of scar tissue. Teachers and librarians need not worry about intensely graphic content, however. The focus is on Callum's feelings rather than on torturous descriptions of hurt and humiliation. Think a couple steps down in intensity from The Beckoners

My only complaint about New Blood (an' it's just a wee 'un) is the casual interaction between teenage characters. The dialogue falls a bit flat, the humour is a bit forced, and the teens sometimes occupy themselves with glaringly generic pursuits like listening to an "MP3 player", or playing nameless "video games" wherein they "blast aliens." In a world of iphones and Halo 3, this may feel inauthentic to readers.

However, New Blood's conclusion is satisfying and well-written. While I'll keep any spoilers to myself, most readers will agree that even the best books about bullying tend to implode with a clichéd ending. Neither coated in cinnamon and sugar nor drenched in violence and bodily fluids, the ending of McPhee's novel is nicely restrained and believable.


Shannon Ozirny is in the Master of Arts in Children's Literature program at the University of British Columbia, and is also the Coordinator for the Vancouver Public Library's Canadian Book Camp.

Canadian Materials Volume XIV - Number 13

- Shannon Ozirny Canadian Materials -Volume XIV- Number 13

PETER McPHEE, a Southern Alberta-based writer, was for many years an editor and film critic for the Winnipeg Sun. His plays have been produced at Winnipeg's Prairie Theatre Exchange and Calgary's Alberta Theatre Projects. He has written several books for both children and young adults, including Runner and A Way With Horses, both Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" Selections. Visit Peter McPhee's website

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 168 pages
Publication Date: 13th November 2007
ISBN: 9781550289961
Format: 7in x 4.25in

Binding: Electronic book text
Publication Date: 22nd February 2012
ISBN: 9781552776094
Format: EPUB

Previous Editions: (show)
Publication Date: 17th December 2007
ISBN: 9781550289985
Binding: Hardback

BISAC Code:, JUV035000, JUV039090, JUV039180
Imprint: Lorimer

Interest age: From 14 To 18


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SideStreets Series

Edgy & realistic teen fiction

Series Website

Series features

  • Page-turning novels that engage reluctant readers
  • Presenting real-world issues in real ways
  • Award-winning, knowledgeable authors
  • Diverse characters and settings

"Sensitive and effective, these small, short books are explicitly aimed at reluctant readers." —Kirkus Reviews

"The quality of writing is excellent, and this book should be in every junior and senior- high school library...highly recommended."
—Canadian Book Review Annual

Sidestreets are edgy, fast-paced novels, that combine real-world themes and believable characters to make for short heart-stopping books - sure to engage the most reluctant reader.