Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rebel's Tag

Rebel's Tag, by K.L. Denman

An Orca Currents Hi/Lo

You may have noticed that I've been picking up the pace of the book reviews lately. This may, or may not, be a clue to you that I've been prepping things to say about certain books that may, or may not, be on a list that I may, or may not, be presenting at OLA next week. I guess you can take from the speed of the review posting the idea that I'm definitely happy about the quality of quite a few books lately. And that these books are, mysteriously, all for teens. Ahem.

I have to say, that I really don't enjoy most of the Orca Currents and Orca Soundings books. I find it slightly insulting that most of the books seem to presuppose that kids who are reluctant or struggling readers are only interested in reading about juvenile delinquents, guns, gangs, etc. That being said, and despite the cover art on this one, Rebel's Tag does not give that feel.

In this story, the main character, lives with his mom. His father died when he was a child, and he doesn't know anything about grandparents or other family. Then one day he gets a letter in the mail from a grandfather he doesn't remember, and who hasn't been a part of his life. This starts him on a spiral of emotional upheaval that he tries to combat by spending time on his neighbours' roofs in the middle of the night, with his best friend. Roof sitting is something they've always done, but now that he wants to leave his mark on the roofs, things start to come apart.

When these books are well written, as this one is, they are great. K.L. Denman has written several of the few entries in either Orca hi/lo series that I can stomach. This story is just over 100 pages long, in easy English, but she manages to get across a story, character development, and emotional complexity that is at the early teen developmental level.

I also really enjoyed Mirror Image by this same author this year.

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