CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 4. . . .September 23, 2011
Calvin Layne (nicknamed ‘Low-Cal' due to his small stature) is a high school student who's simply trying to get by. With a deceased mom and a father who has since left, Calvin now lives with, and looks after, his ailing grandmother. Working in the dry-cleaning shop that his grandmother owns, Calvin finds comfort and purpose when practicing and performing yo-yo tricks. After his first street performance, fellow high school student Rozelle and her gang of girls demand a cut of his earnings and, despite Calvin's opposition, become his management crew. To increase donations and build local media buzz, Rozelle claims that Calvin can forecast the future, touting him as the "Yo-Yo Prophet". The hype surrounding Calvin's yo-yo predictions spirals out of control, and his grandmother becomes increasingly ill and contemplates selling her long-standing business. While yo-yoing brings about a sense of control, Calvin ultimately realizes that he must also take direct action to bring about change in his and his family's lives.
Karen Krossing has created a fresh and engaging story that was intricately crafted, yet easy to follow. Of particular note were the different terms and descriptions for yo-yo tricks and techniques. The explanations and descriptions of the different yo-yo skills that Calvin was adeptly practicing and mastering were done in such a way that I could easily envision what he was doing. This particular element would be especially useful for readers as evidence of effective descriptions of potentially foreign concepts. I also appreciated the realistic portrayal of high school life. As Calvin's confidence increased and as he sought to fit within the high school hierarchy, aided in part by his successful yo-yo performances, he weaved his way in and out of difficult decisions, with some being more successfully resolved than others.
Nicole Dalmer is entering her second year of the MLIS program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB.
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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.