by Ann Walsh


  • September 2013
  • ISBN: 978-1-55380-259-4
  • e-book ISBN: 978-1-55380-260-0
  • pdf ISBN: 978-1-55380-261-7
  • 5-1/4″ x 7-5/8″ Trade Paperback, 214 pp
  • Young Reader Novel – Ages 9 to 12

Sixteen-year-old Darrah is in trouble. She lost her temper and, as a result, Mrs. Johnson was hurt. Now the RCMP is suggesting Darrah participate in something called “Restorative Justice” as an alternative to appearing in court. Darrah has to face Mrs. Johnson, her parents, a policewoman, and a “facilitator” who all sit in a circle and decide on Darrah’s “sanctions.” Sanctions aren’t punishments, the facilitator tells her. At first Darrah doesn’t believe this—helping Mrs. Johnson two afternoons a week feels like punishment. But then Darrah realizes that she likes helping the older woman, especially when Mrs. Johnson teaches Darrah how to cook and bake (her recipes are included in the book). It turns out, however, that Mrs. Johnson is hiding a secret. . . .

A Follow-Up Activity Guide is also available here for Whatever.

Reviews & Awards

Finalist for the Victoria Book Prizes

“Tackling issues such as Restorative Justice and aging, local author Ann Walsh’s new young adult book Whatever is an engaging read. . . . Young adult readers will recognize the pressures Darrah faces from parents and the responsibilities put on her, whether she likes them or not. Despite this, Darrah is relatable and likeable. Aside from her actions that put her into the justice system, she is a normal teenager, hoping to earn a part in the next theatre production, and falling into young love. Whatever, however, relates to the older reader as well. Mrs. J., who is thought to be pushing 90 in the book, has her own hardships that come from aging.” —Tara Sprickerhoff, Williams Lake Tribune

“As a Restorative Justice practitioner, I was pleased that Ann was able to develop a credible scenario with life-like characters and stay true to the principles of Restorative Justice. The story is both interesting and thought provoking. I would have loved to have had access to this novel when I was teaching high school English and law.” —Sandra Hawkins, RCMP Restorative Justice Facilitator Trainer

“It’s a skill that a writer can introduce a character that you despise at first read, like self-centred, inconsiderate Darrah, and have them evolve into a person whom you might consider befriending. Ann Walsh does this with and for Darrah.” CanLit for LittleCanadians

“The story is an intuitive, modern-day coming-of-age tale that explores weighty themes – family, friendship, yearning, and loss – in a nuanced and age appropriate manner. The inclusions of 11 recipes (the ones made by Darrah and Mrs. Johnson) adds a sweet touch, and a layer of welcome intimacy to this keenly insightful novel.” —Quill & Quire