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Leaving Fishers    by Margaret Peterson Haddix order for
Leaving Fishers
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Order:  USA  Can
Pulse, 1999 (1997)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

When Dorry's father loses his job in Bryden, Ohio, the family is forced to move to Indianapolis. Due to lack of money, they live in a small apartment. Dorry finds it difficult to make friends at her new high school. She's lonely and eats lunch by herself every day. One afternoon, Angela invites Dorry to eat with her group of friends and Dorry jumps at the chance. The friends are nice to Dorry and readily include her in their conversation. One even offers to help her with homework. Finally, some new friends and acceptance!

The group asks Dorry to a party that Friday night, and Dorry is introduced to their church, 'Fishers of Men'. On a retreat, Dorry accepts the Lord and becomes baptized as a member of the Fishers. Although some of the demands the Fishers begin to make of Dorry - for more and more of her time, and pushing for evangelism - seem benign at first, she eventually starts to question what is happening. The group's commands become almost impossible for Dorry to obey, and her life and health begin to suffer. Can she get out before it's too late?

This book takes a fascinating look at how cults work in the world today. The basic premise behind Fishers is not necessarily a bad one - it's basic Christian principles, based on the Bible. Yet the Fishers take that idea and create their own beliefs based on supreme loyalty to the group. Dorry is just like most teens, insecure and wanting friends. It's interesting for her to look back and see just how readily she was sucked into the group and how easily any one of us could do the same thing under similar circumstances.

I was enthralled with this story from the beginning and literally could not put it down until the end. Margaret Haddix is an excellent writer, who continues to push the envelope with timely and captivating topics. Although we often think of cults as something strange, that only attract crazy people, this novel will help everyone be aware of their subtle dangers. Leaving Fishers will give you a lot to think about and discuss with friends.

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