________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 11 . . . . November 16, 2012


Disconnect. (Orca Currents).

Lois Peterson.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2012.
125 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0143-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0144-8 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0145-5 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0146-2 (epub).

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.

Review by Kate Hachborn.


Reviewed from Advance Review Copy.



I didn’t notice the old lady until she barged into me. I grabbed her shopping cart to regain my balance. “Sorry.”

“It’s my fault.” Two harsh dark lines were drawn above the woman’s eyes where her eyebrows should have been. “My daughter said I wasn’t ready,” she said. “But a short walk around the mall, I told her. How could that hurt?” One of her legs was encased in a blue air cast.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“No blood spilled.” The woman smiled. “Not bad news I hope.”

“Pardon me?”

“You were so intent on your phone.” The woman eased herself down onto the bench.

Daria has recently moved away from her friends and is trying her hardest to stay in the loop using any means possible. Her cell phone is never in her pocket, and Daria is completely tuned to any new texts, Facebook messages or voice mails that come her way. When another new girl tries to befriend Daria, she is unable and unwilling to disconnect from her old life to make way for a new one. When Daria’s actions lead to a serious accident, will the choice to disconnect still be hers to make?

      Part of the “Orca Currents” series, this high interest, low vocabulary book is written for a generation that is used to being “plugged in.” Peterson easily incorporates text messages in her dialogue using bold type and acronyms with which most readers will be familiar. The plot flows in a linear progression, and, despite her best efforts, Daria begins to be involved in her new hometown and engaged by a new friend. Daria is moody and indecisive but is not malicious in her actions. Peterson speaks to the selfishness that can come with constantly being connected through technology instead of face-to-face. Daria is legitimately sorry for the accident she is responsible for creating, but it takes her a while to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and her role in it. Didactic without being preachy, Peterson will connect with her audience without losing them for judging one of the central means her audience uses to communicate.

      Disconnect is an appropriate title for this book, suggesting both the need for Daria to unplug her technology and the disconnect between her idea of technology as a necessity and the need to forge real relationships rather than superficial, electronic ones.


Kate Hachborn is a library technician at the W. Ross Macdonald School in Brantford, ON.

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

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