________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 22. . . .February 8, 2013


Caching In. (Orca Currents).

Kristin Butcher.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2013.
120 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0232-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0233-9 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0234-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0235-3 (epub).

Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15.

Review by Alicia Copp-Mökkönen.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



He takes another step toward the cliff. Now he's standing right on the edge. And he's looking down. I get dizzy just watching him.

"Hey, Eric. Look" Now Chris is pointing down at something. "This is it."

It takes all the nerve I have to move closer, but I do. I don't want Chris to think I'm chicken. Now I'm looking over the edge too. My stomach is churning.

"See it?" Chris says.

Sweat is dripping into my eyes but I make myself focus. About three meters below the cliff we're standing on is another cliff, and growing on it- practically straight out over the edge- is a small tree. It looks more like a branch than a tree. My thigh is fatter than it is. I look along the trunk. At the end is a nest. No bird though. Instead there's a toy lantern. And even from here, I can see there's something inside the lantern.


Eric and his friend Chris take up geocaching, getting coordinates from a website and using GPS to locate an area where a cache is hidden. Soon they begin to seek more challenging undiscovered caches. When the story begins, they are in the midst of a particularly odd search which has led them to a cemetery where they must wait out a wedding taking place right where the cache may be hidden. Their first clue is an obituary hidden inside the bride's bouquet placed on a grave at the end of the ceremony. The clue to the next cache is cleverly disguised in the text of an obituary, but the boys manage to crack it and embark on their most intriguing geocache adventure yet. When they discover the next cache, there is a fifty dollar bill attached, and the boys must decide whether or not they wish to continue seeking caches without the use of GPS, drawing only on their wits and daring. What follows is a fast-paced quest as the boys decipher and follow clues, meeting up after school and sneaking out in the night, riding their bikes around Victoria, BC. Ratcheting up the tension is the possibility that another person is also following the geocache clues, and there is also the mysterious red convertible that keeps appearing along the way.

     Caching In has been published as part of the "Orca Currents" series aimed at middle-school readers who are reading below grade level. The novel is short and begins in the midst of a geocache challenge, and so the reader is quickly drawn into the story. The plot is driven through dialogue primarily between two characters, and despite the use of simple language, the novel very convincingly captures an adolescent perspective and the nuances of friendship at this age. However, one weakness is that the brevity of the tale and the reliance on dialogue results in little description which could be used to enrich the plot and also help the reader visualize the setting and actions taking place. There are also a few instances where the depiction of the use of technology lags a bit and reveals an adult rather than a youth orientation. For example, rather than joining a website for geocaching, it is more likely that the boys would use one of the many apps on the market these days. However, the topic of geocaching is an excellent plot device for a contemporary quest or search for clues and will likely lead more than a few readers to investigate geocaching in their own neighbourhoods. Readers will also appreciate the twist in the plot at the end as the boys come face to face with a rival before their adventure reaches a satisfying conclusion.

      Caching In is a good choice for anyone seeking both Canadian content and a plot that will appeal particularly to male readers reading below grade level.


Alicia Copp-Mökkönen is an educator, librarian and researcher and lives in Vancouver, BC.

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

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