CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 41. . . .June 25, 2010.
Bear Market. (Orca Currents).
Michele Martin Bossley.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2010.
109 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55469-220-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55469-221-7 (hc.).
Grades 5-9/Ages 10-14.
Review by Erin Walker.
Something in the trees ahead suddenly whirled towards us. My heart rose up in my throat, and before I could blink, I was staring down the long black barrel of a hunting rifle.
Bear Market, by Michele Martin Bossley, is the latest “Orca Currents” title starring teen sleuths Trevor, Nick and Robyn. Someone has been poaching bears in nearby Kananaskis country, removing their gallbladders, and leaving the carcasses behind. Bear gallbladders are often used in alternative medicines in Asia and sell for thousands of dollars on the black market. Appalled by this display of animal cruelty, Trevor, Nick and Robyn decide to try and find the culprit(s). Suspicion falls on the tough-looking animal rights activists who were involved in an incident at the Zoo; Neil, the zookeeper who’s been receiving threatening e-mails; a visiting group of American hunters, and others. Not surprisingly, the teens’ sleuthing gets them into a dangerous situation involving an angry grizzly bear and even angrier poachers.
Written in first person from Trevor’s point-of-view, Bear Market is a fast-paced story filled with interesting facts about bears, poaching, and animal rights activism. It follows a standard mystery plot with plenty of well-placed clues. While, at times, the teens’ methods of investigation are questionable—i.e. they uncover clues by reading someone else’s e-mail and telling falsehoods—the narrator does briefly reflect on the moral and ethical implications of these actions.
The theme of “not judging a book by its cover” is reinforced throughout, especially through the portrayal of several characters who turn out to be the opposite of what they seemed. The camaraderie established among the three friends in this story is appealing, and the humourous quips between them are some of the best dialogue in the book.
Unfortunately, the book’s cover design is stale and offers little to inspire a reluctant reader to pick it up. Moreover, the choice of cover image is odd. The green bottles suggest a sci-fi mystery, not a whodunit. In spite of this, Bear Market is a solid addition to the “Orca Currents” library and is an appealing choice for mystery fans.
Erin Walker is a recent MLIS graduate and co-founder of CLASY (Canadian Libraries Are Serving Youth). She blogs about young adult lit at theothererin.wordpress.com .
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