________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 4 . . . . October 13, 2006

cover

Exit Point. (Orca Soundings).

Laura Langston.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2006.
110 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55143-505-5 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55143-525-X (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Spirits-Juvenile fection.
Teenagers and death-Juvenile fiction.
Child sexual abuse-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.

Review by Jane Bridle.

*** /4

excerpt:

“I’m dreaming, right?”

No one answers out loud. Instead I hear his voice in my head and this is what he says: There are five exit points in any one life.

Five points when a person can die and not mess up with the Big Plan.

“You should have waited for exit point five.” Now he speaks into my ear.

His breath is hot on my skin. “Instead, you took an easier option. You took exit point two.”

If I had waited, I would have died on June 9, 2066, at the age of seventy-seven, by choking on a grape.

Instead I died October 28, 2004, in a car that crashed and exploded on Houser Way.

I was sixteen years old and afraid to face my future.

So I didn’t.

 

The narrator, 16-year-old Logan Freemont, finds himself an observer at his own funeral after dying in a car crash that occurred while he was driving under the influence of alcohol. His spirit guides include his wise-cracking grandmother and Wade, the Snakeman. Logan is now given a choice. He must appear before a council who will make a judgment of his life or settle some unfinished business first.

     Logan discovers that his uncle has been abusing his nine-year old sister. He must use his new-found awareness to intervene on her behalf and “make his life count” before he goes to face the council for an examination of the positive and negative actions of his life. If he can save his sister, perhaps his life will have had a purpose and he can redeem himself. As his father would say to him, “failure is not an option” and, although Logan has usually taken the easy way out, he decides to take the responsibility of saving his sister.

     The dedication in the frontispiece by Aesop, “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted,” emphasizes the power of right actions which is like the ripple effect caused by throwing a stone into a pond.

     Teens will enjoy the fast pace and realistic dialogue and exploration of the theme of life after death. However, the exit point referred to in the title is not fully explained nor is the “Big Plan” which is given short shrift and is, therefore, confusing.

     Exit Point is part of “Orca Soundings,” a popular series for reluctant readers and teens who are short of time and looking for a quick, high interest read (reading level is 2.8). While the cover art is not terribly appealing, the hardcover format is a comfortable paperback size (4 1/4” by 7”) but sturdy enough for library use.

     Look on the Orca website at www.orcabook.com for a Teacher’s Guide with questions that will help to facilitate discussion about the themes of child abuse, life after death and drinking and driving.

     Laura Langston, author of the award winning Lesia’s Dream, was formerly a journalist for the CBC. Besides writing for children, she has a column in Canadian Gardening magazine.     

Recommended.

Jane Bridle is a librarian at Winnipeg Public Library, in Winnipeg, MB.

 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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