Bad: A Novel

Bad: A Novel

by Jean Ferris


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Inspired by the author's work in a girls' rehabilitation center.

Ray called it skating when we did the crazy things . . . Hot-wiring a fancy car for a joyride after midnight. Boosting stuff from stores . . .

Sixteen-year-old Dallas loves the rush, the excitement of "skating." But then she and her friends decide to rob a convenience store and it's Dallas who gets caught while the others get away. Since it is her first offense, she thinks her father will help her out - but when the judge says she can go home on probation her father says no, he can't control her. So the judge gives Dallas six months in the Girls' Rehabilitation Center. Once there, Dallas meets an assortment of "bad" girls, many of whom don't expect to change, and those who do often don't make it. How Dallas comes to terms with herself - both the bad and the good - makes for a heartfelt and insightful novel about troubled teenagers and the odds they face in trying to turn their lives around.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374404758
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 09/12/2001
Series: Aerial Fiction
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 445,414
Product dimensions: 4.24(w) x 6.91(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Jean Ferris is the author of many books, including Invincible Summer and All That Glitters, which were both ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She lives in Coronado, California.

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

for Bad

n In her Author's Note, Jean Ferris explains that this book grew out of a series of interviews she did at the Girls' Rehabilitation

Facility in San Diego. The bedtime stories are an actual practice at the facility. In the book,

were you surprised at how important this was to the girls? Why do you think they enjoyed it so much? Dallas says, "The bedtime stories

urged us on with poems and fables." [p. 178]

What are some of the titles of the bedtime readings? Why do you suppose the readers chose these particular stories?

n "Habit's a big part of the criminal life,

and habits are hard to break," says Connie.

[p. 148] What is her answer for this problem?

How is this related to what Shatasia says about the routine at the center: "There's way

too many rules . . . but I still like to know

what's happenin' next." [p. 39]

n Contrast the blame and disapproval of

Dallas's father toward her with "the staff's

encouragement and goading [that] indicated

we were worth salvaging." [p. 169] What is the effect of negative expectations from other people on a person's self-image? Find some other places in the book where we see this in action.

n "The struggle to get where they wanted us

to go seemed too hard," thinks Dallas. "Only

in Shatasia and in some of the books Kate

had given me had I been able to see someone

actually making that struggle, seen how

painful the effort could be." [p. 178] How does she think reading can help her in the future?

On the last page of the novel is a list of the books Kate has given her. [p. 182] Have you read any of these? What books would you add that would help a person trying to find her or his way?

n When Dallas's father answers only "I'm

your father" as a reason he might want to visit her, she says "I need a better answer." [p. 96]

What is the answer she wants, and why is it so hard for him to realize what it is? Why can't she bring herself to give him even the slightest clue to what she needs? What does each misunderstand about the other, and what good reasons do they have to be angry?

n As Dallas leaves the GRC for the group home, she looks at the guidebook to Texas that Nolan has given her and thinks, "I was

going traveling and I needed to know the

way." [p. 182] Does this mean she is actually going to Texas or something else about her

"journey" to find herself? Do you think it is likely that she will make it "on the outs"? How about Shatasia? Toozdae? Valencia? With all the help and good advice they have been given at GRC, why is it still so hard for all these girls to build new lives for themselves?

To Find Out More about Kids in Jail


Jack Gantos. Hole in My Life. New York:

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.

Walter Dean Myers. Monster. New York:

HarperCollins, 1999.

Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Life in Prison.

Lancaster, Calif.: SeaStar / Chronicle Books,


Web sites:

The Beat Within: Writing and Art from the Inside.

A weekly online newsletter outlet for the thoughts, stories, opinions, and ideas of incarcerated youth expressed in striking poetry and art.

"I'm Arrested. Now What?"

A detailed step-by-step description of what happens to a minor in Orange County,

California, who commits a crime and is taken to jail to be booked.

Juvenile Hall Literacy Program


A program of book talks and author visits to

Juvenile Hall in Alameda County, California,

has had dramatic results. Here the readers talk

about it.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Bad 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
AlliAnn More than 1 year ago
A sixteen year old girl, named Dallas gets introuble because her boyfriend is a “bad” boy. She finds out who her real friends are when all of her so called friends leave her when she gets introuble for her friends. Dallas and a few of her friends like to get introuble a lot because it excites them. They get into more trouble then what they can handle and get caught robbing a store Dallas was the only person who got caught and had to go to court over. Her father couldn’t handle her any more so he let the judge put her in rehab to learn from her mistakes and try to change her life. I really enjoyed reading this book. It might not be the best book for a child under the age of twelve to read, but any age above that this book is perfect for them. It shows you never to give in to peer pressure cause your true friends wouldn’t pressure you into doing something like that. The main points in this book for me is it shows you that anything can happen, and yo need to make sure the group of people around you are good people that won’t let you be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When you let peers presure you never have control over what you do in life. True friends wouldn’t pressure you into do something bad or bad for you or going to hurt you.
Debra1998 More than 1 year ago
The book im writing about is, “Bad”. It’s about a girl named “Dallas”. She has a boy friend names Ray. She has a best friends named Sonny, and Pam. There also dating. For now. Ray was a very BAD influence. Dallas would always get peer presured into doing things. She knew if she didn’t do what Ray wanted he would leave her. She never wanted that to happen. She says she really liked Ray. She got in a lot of trouble being with Ray, Pam, and Sonny. What I like about this book is, It’s kind of like my friends. It’s a very descriptive book. It has many details. It’s a very interesting, and an amazing book. It has its flaws though. Like it has drugs and sex in it. I don’t exactly like reading about all that. I also don’t like how Pam, Ray, and Sonny act in the beginning. I don’t like how Dallas’s dad always says shes like her mother. Like it’s a bad thing to be like the person that gave birth to you. She gave birth to you. That’s the least you could do for her. Her father goes on and on about how she just like her mother. It’s a very great book. It only has 187 pages. Not that much to read. Do you think Dallas will get out of the rehab and act better, or her act worse. Read the book and find out.You will be surpirised.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I’m writing about the book “Bad” by Jean Ferris. It is a very good book. I really liked it. It’s about a girl named Dallas who goes to a Girls Rehab. Jean Ferris, author of “Bad”, lives in San Diego, California with her husband who is a lawyer. She has two grown daughters who are both teachers. She loves to read, travel, and talk long walks with friends.Ray, her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend, was a big trouble maker. He was resistible to break up with. He treated Dallas many different ways. Pam, her best friend ends up dating Dallas’ ex boyfriend Ray. Shatasia was Dallas’ roommate in the Girls Rehab Center. She was a very nice girl to Dallas’. They ended up being really good friends. Shatasia had a child. If you like reading about life in rehab centers or jails, this could be a book for you. It’s very descriptive about how the girls act, their background from their life before, and their life after. It’s not really a book for kids; it’s more of a book for older kids and adults. What I like about the book was it told about Dallas’ life in the Girls Rehab Center. I didn’t dislike anything in this book. It’s really enjoyable.
Laffy-Taffy More than 1 year ago
I never thought I could actually pick up a book and read it. That all changed when I encountered this book. A not so typical teenager named Dallas finds herself in a girls rehabilitation center. Thinking she had it bad, she never realized what all the other girls were going through. Throughout the book Dallas finds herself, and decides she is going to do her best to stay clean, even if that means having a disconnected relationship with her father. This book was fantastic, highly reccomended to mature teenagers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live in a juvenile detention home? Well the character in this book has lived that life. This book is about a girl named, Dallas, who is sent to a juvenile detention home for an armed robbery offence. She makes friends with her cellmates named, Toozdae, Shatasha and Valencia. During her time in the home, she learns to respect her father and understand the decisions he made and the consequences of her actions. Dallas also learns that you do not always have to keep the same friends. One day they are your friend and the next day they are not your friends. So ask yourself, ¿Do you know what is like to live in a juvenile detention home¿? If not, read this book and you will find out. In my own opinion this book gets four stars for its quality. The main reason I give this book four stars is because it was a very easy book to read, the content is easy to understand. The content was very different than any other book that I have read before. Even though this is a fiction book, I think this has a unique way of showing what it would be like to live in a juvenile detention center and some of the hardships that a young person would have to face. I highly recommend this book to anyone over the age of 10. I do not think that any one under the age of 10 years old should read this book because there is a little bit of violence and some mature content. Although, if a child under 10 is having problems with getting into trouble, this may be a book that can show them where they could end up. All in all I did like this book because it deals with teen issues, which is something that I can relate to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A book that is surely surprisingly different from other teen readers, Bad by Jean Ferris illustrates the non-typical life of a troubled teenager named Dallas. Dallas searches in meaningless relationships with boys for the love that is not being provided by her single father and deceased mother. These relationships often end her up in the wrong crowd, surrounded by crime. Torn emotionally between heartbreak and following in her mothers broken path Dallas becomes and emotional bombshell. Eventually Dallas ¿ luck catches up with her and she is sent to a girls rehab center for robbing a gas station with a gun. In the rehab center she comes to the realization that she has only one life, and if she wants to live it she better slow down. She also learns to cope with the loss of her mother, and try to gain an understanding of father¿s constant worry and struggle in being a single parent and raising a daughter. Although in some parts the plot becomes predictable (as in most teen readers) the book has a great feel to it. Instead of following the typical male downward spiral into a life of crime, Ferris expresses the delinquent life of a young woman stuck in a web of lies and miscommunication. The reader is given a full-frontal gritty invitation to the life of several women who share similar fates as Dallas, from a resolute white supremacist, to a troubled teen mom. Each with their own story and each with their own actions that plays a huge part on molding Dallas into a woman. One girl in particular who helps Dallas in her struggle is Shatasia. Together the two girls learn to grow and gain wisdom from their mistakes. Dallas is a very empty character who sometimes seems non-existent For Dallas life is a slow learning experience that she attempted to tackle to quickly. Even after leaving the rehabilitation center she still is uncertain about the direction of her life. With a surprising and extremely suspenseful ending. Bad is the perfect book for any teenager who is overloaded with stress or troubled relationships. Ferris hit a home run with this great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books that I have ever read, and I would highly recomend this book if you are looking for some excitement and intensity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finsished reading the book Bad and it is about a girl named Dallas who gets caught with a gun holding up a small convenient store. She gets sent to rehabilitation and learns about other people that have been going through struggles like her as well. She is put in there for 6 months and is trying to learn to get better and not to do the bad things she had been doing. It made me realize to appreciate things alot more, and see when people are doing wrong that I should stand up and say something, and not let them take it that far.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished reading the book Bad for school. This is a perfect book for young adults since it teaches you many lessons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bad was an excellent book for young adults. I read this novel for summer reading. I recommend everyone reading this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finshed reading the book called Bad by Jean Ferris! It is an awesome book. It's about a girl named Dallas who is sent to a Rehabiliation center for 6 months and the ups and downs she goes through. After reading this book it opened my eyes to a lot of things that I was doing wrong and how I can fix them. I want everyone to go out and read this book espcially if you are 14-18 years old.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have any of you read the book called Bad? I have just finshed reading it and it is an excellent book. Jean Ferris did an incredable job when writing it. She has many life experiences that some girls have to go through because they think that they have to live under those conditions. After reading this book I have relized that everyone can change and be different if they want to whether they're on the right path or not. To anyone who is reading this, if you want to read this book about girls that have been sent to a Rehabilition center go pick it up at your local libary and read it for yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book!! It really teaches u something! i recommend this book!! u dont wanna put it dowm!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sixteen year old Dallas is sentenced to six months in the Girls¿ Rehabilitation Center. She was charged for holding up a convenient store employee with a gun. Dallas¿ father refuses to take her home on parole because he feels that she needs to learn a lesson. While Dallas gets busted, her manipulative boyfriend, Ray, and two other so-called friends walk away scot-free even though they were the ones who planned the robbery and set up Dallas. Dallas didn¿t tell the judge that it was their fault, she didn¿t rat on her friends. For this she got a thank you from Ray and he also dumped her for her ¿best friend¿, Pam. I rated this book a 4 out of 5 because it was pretty good but it could have been better. The book was based on what everyone else in the book did. Dallas could have talked more about what she thought. I also thought that Jean Ferris should have talked more about what happened to Ray and Dallas¿ other ¿friends¿ after she got sent away. Her dad might have been a better character if he was in the book more; instead they pretty much only had Dallas¿ opinion of him. Overall the book was good because it makes you think about things from other people¿s point of views. It teaches you a lot about making the right choices in life and about how right or wrong those choices will effect you later on in life. I think this is a great book for almost anybody. Most of the people who can relate to this story or have a pretty good idea would be people between the ages of 13 and being a parent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just got done readin this book about 2 minutes ago. It was excellent and I couldn't put it down it was so good. I can relate to Dallas in many ways. I wonder what would happen to her if the book kept going though. If you haven't yet read this you should because it was great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, I was never really into reading before until now, and couldn't put it down. This was a very touching book and and got you really in the life of this girl named Dallas. I could relate to almost everything that happened emotionally.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to say Thanks a million to Jean Ferris for helping me find a great passion. I hated reading untill i picked up a book in the library called 'Bad' I absolutly love this book and can relate to Dallas as she over comes obsticles. Since I read 'Bad' I have also read these books: ' Of Sound Mind'(aslo by Jean Ferris) and When I Was Older' by: Garret Freymann-Weyr.