________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 15. . . .December 10, 2010


Mind Gap. (Keystone).

Marina Cohen.
Toronto, ON: Dundurn, 2011.
168 pp., pbk., $9.99.
ISBN 978-1-55488-801-6.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Jake willed his pulse to slow. His mouth was a thin line. He ran a hand through his thick hair. Then he picked up his last stack of coins and tossed them casually into the heap. Nine bucks. Ten, if Damon continued. Not what you'd call a fortune, but hey, it was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Jake slipped his hand into the pocket of his jeans. He shifted his cell-phone. Stray nickels and dimes danced between his fingers. If he lost this hand, he could kiss next week's lunches goodbye. Like he'd done this week. And last.

"Call," said Damon. He placed his two cards onto the pile of money as though he were claiming it. He had a pair of aces.

Jake let out his breath, The deuces came in handy, after all. He turned his cards over one by one. Jake watched Damon's eyes darken. Suddenly, they reminded Jake of shark eyes- cold and lifeless. Jake stretched out his arms to rake in his winnings.

"Why, gentlemen," said a deep voice, "you wouldn't happen to be partaking in the quite illegal and most suspendable act of gambling, would you?"


Fouteen-year-old Jake MacRae sneaks out of his house at night to meet his friend Cole at a flash party on the subway. He isn't scared of the consequences because he feels he has nothing to lose. His dad (the Pigeon) left when he was four, his mom has given up on him, and his teacher has caught him gambling in school. His only hope for the future involves making a delivery for a violent gang. As Jake gets closer to the party, inexplicable things begin to happen. In the elevator, he hears an ominous voice telling him "Last stop." At St. George Station, technology disappears, and on the subway, time starts to shift. As Jake travels between the past and the future, horror sets in as he witnesses his family suffering the results of his poor choices. Getting involved with the 5 King Tribe will result in his mother's breakdown and his brother's murder. Apparitions (such as Short-Shorts) add nightmarish elements to the story as they speak to Jake about the consequences of his choices. As Jake is pushed and pulled through time, he is given a second chance to improve his life and save the lives of others. The shifting of time is this story is nothing new, but Mind Gap is an absorbing story that ends with a poignant surprise. Like Jake, we make decisions all the time and we struggle with choice. As Jake's priorities shift, the changes he makes are admirable, and his struggles, while not the same as ours might be, do involve universal needs and wants we have all desired.

      Marina Cohen, the author of Shadow of the Moon, Trick of the Light, and Ghost Ride, is a teacher living in Markham, ON.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364
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