CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 20 . . . . January 27, 2012
After his most recent conviction for breaking and entering, Cameron is sent to an alternative juvenile detention facility—an outdoors program on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. There he meets Brianna, a girl with multiple convictions for selling drugs at her school. The two bond and hatch a secret plan to escape the facility by kayak with Montreal as their ultimate goal. Cameron goes along with the plan mostly because he is attracted to Brianna, even though he senses her wayward ways will get him into big trouble. They make their getaway just as a hurricane begins heading up the coast, causing their plans to go predictably awry.
Cameron is a typical Choyce anti-hero: an impulsive, angry, smart aleck with a weakness for bad girls and ill-considered decisions. He knows all the ropes of detention centers—as well as how to skirt inconvenient rules; what’s less clear is why such a smart kid can’t figure out anything better to do with his time than repeated breaking and entering. Mostly through Cameron’s efforts, the two survive the storm. Brianna later deserts him; he pursues her; and, surprisingly, in the end, she insists that they both give themselves up. Cameron seems to accept that he will never see the scheming Brianna again, but it’s less clear if he sees a law-abiding future for himself.
Choyce’s writing style is clear and concise, with minimal attention paid to setting and descriptions. The hi-low format—with its emphasis on plot, action, short chapters, and large font—assures that teens reading below grade level can easily follow the story’s fast pace.
Kay Weisman is a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature candidate at the University of British Columbia.
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