CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 25. . . .March 4th, 2011.
Gravity Check is a fast-paced, action-packed story of two brothers who learn to be much more accepting of each other after getting kidnapped and chased by gun-wielding drug dealers. Sounds a bit too fantastic? Some authors may not be able to pull off so much in such a brief work, but Alex Van Tol is an exception in this case.
Van Tol does an excellent job of keeping the story advancing quickly while still allowing the reader to catch subtle nuances of character as each of the camper/bikers get to know one another. Nolan is the brainy one who is somewhat accident prone, but who is also game to take some risks. Rico and Chase, the camp counselors, are mature for their age, and adventurous, but they arenít so macho as to avoid looking vulnerable.
Two of the thugs who show up later in the book are almost caricatures. There is one skinny guy and one big, brutish, not-too-smart guy. They play back and forth much in the way that one would see in cartoons. This does, however, make some of Jamieís actions credible and believable as he attempts to rescue his friends from the captors.
Gravity Check is very suitable for its audience, having been published for reluctant readers through ďOrca Sports.Ē The reading level is simple and the plot compelling as well. The only drawback for some could be the extensive use of biking terminology and the minor use of stock characters as mentioned previously.
Rob Bittner is a graduate student of Childrenís and Young Adult Literature at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.
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