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Ben Mikaelson's young adult novel Touching Spirit Bear tells the story of an angry and troubled young man named Cole. At the age of fifteen, Cole is in enough trouble with the law that he only has one official option--prison. Two men recognize something of themselves in the young man and take the responsibility for him.
Cole is given a chance to be part of something called Circle Justice, and though Cole thinks the whole idea is nonsense, he figures it is better than prison. He finds himself on an island with nothing but a few supplies and plenty of time to think. The mystical spirit bear is real, and it visit Cole two times. The first time, Cole is lucky to escape with his life, as he goaded the bear into attacking him. What Cole eventually discovers through his encounter with the spirit bear is that people often do hurtful and awful things out of fear. That realization finally brings him peace and forgiveness.
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