Novels by M.J. Brett

(a.k.a. Margaret Brettschneider) 



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  About Street Smart
          on a 
     Dead End


Sometimes love is not enough--every parent's nightmare.

ISBN #  978-0-9748869-0-3                                                                                                    Street Smart on a Dead End

       When Olivia, an incorrigible sixth grader, enrolls in a new school, her obscene vocabulary and aggressive behavior stymie the faculty.

Naive teacher, Kate Johnson, unwittingly becomes the "counselor of chance" as tough-minded Olivia faints in her arms with the words,

"Help me!" and reveals a mindful of secrets.

        With no parent to be found, Kate reluctantly takes Olivia home to her own familyhusband, Phil and two daughters, plus a houseful

of kids who "...sort of came to dinner and stayed...for years."

        Olivia's roller coaster ups and downs practically tear apart this straight-laced family. Though all try to be supportive, her various

escapades, lies, and strange disappearances go beyond everyone's level of tolerance. In addition, Olivia soon finds that her previous gang

members and drug dealers jeopardize her new life and the family she has come to love, as she swings alternately from one world to the


        This novel is based on the true story of dedicated educators fighting abusive parents, drug pushers, gangs, and ineffective laws for

protecting children during a time when few resources were known or available. Ingenuity and love and hope are the only weapons Kate and

Phil can find to try to help this one lost child.

        But is it already too late for Olivia?  Is the cultural clash of values insurmountable? The violent climax brings together all the

strengths and weaknesses of any family in crisis.

        If  you'd like discussion questions for your Book Club, "Contact the Author" and give me your address. 

Comment from Readers:

"This story walks off the front pages and challenges us all to keep trying--to never give up on a child." Martha S

"Dealing with children with so many emotional and social problems takes more patience than most of us possess. I'd like all sixth grade teachers,

parents and students to read this book, because I'm not sure all our kids truly understand the dangers inherent in drugs and gangs. Olivia teaches

us all." Tony G.