Author: Australian criminal lawyer with Aboriginal Legal Service in Sydney. Married to chef and restauranteur Matt Moran. Her first novel, ‘The Crimes of Billy Fish’ (2007) was pretty good. This is her fourth. I haven’t read #2 or #3. Premise: Intelligent 16-year-old boy from broken home gets into trouble with the law. Instead of jail, he’s sent to a remote rural facility with an innovative approach to troubled youth. Plot: Daniel, who has a hopeless mother, gets caught dealing drugs to other kids at school. Mostly, they’ve been prescribed for him because of a history of behavioural problems, but he doesn’t take them. The Magistrate sends him to an innovative facility run by a psychiatrist. Instruction is free-range, but involves some high-faluting scientific concepts. Although Ms Hopkins tries hard with the science-y bits, I did not find them convincing. Readers with no technical background complain they re confusing. The dynamic between the kids was well developed. Things proceed satisfactorily for Daniel, not so much for one of the other kids who gets dead. Narrative: First person by Daniel, the protagonist. We soon learn he’s telling the story from 30 years on, so he turned out okay—a world famous geneticist no less—but along the way, he was required to give evidence to an offical enquiry into the psychiatrist and his methods. Prose: Crisp and clear in the main. Frequent flashbacks, but they dovetail nicely. Character development: Good for Daniel, less so for the other characters. Bottom line: Although Ms Hopkins raises some interesting questions about how we handle wayward youth, she doesn’t fully answer them. Maybe they can’t be answered. Reviewers have compared this book, unfairly in my opinion, to Charlotte Wood’s ‘The Natural Way of Things’ (2005) features girls placed in a harsher, more prison-like outback facility. This is very different, and better.