CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 2. . . .September 13, 2013
Ace is an awkward 14-year-old with a crush on his band mate Lisa. Together they write songs and busk, forming a band called Two. The cast of characters in this “Orca Currents” novel include Ace’s easygoing mom and her ex-musician boyfriend Chuck who lends Ace an old guitar and harmonica. Denny is the clueless friend who makes a music video and unwittingly lets two girls with their own devious agenda post an alternate video on YouTube with embarrassing consequences for Ace and especially Lisa.
The daily concerns of teenage life are well depicted in this novel. This is done through small details in the storyline that draw on minor and realistic scenarios, such as spilling chocolate milk on your backpack and worrying the girl you like might notice the stink. Ace’s inner dialogue is superbly written, easy to relate to and likable as an accident-prone, self-doubting, sincere teen. Although brief, the novel manages to draw on issues of rivalry, popularity, the role of technology in bullying, teen romance, all the while maintaining a lighthearted and humorous tone.
In a pivotal scene, Lisa’s “chicken cutlets” are jostled out of her bra in a highly embarrassing incident that is captured on video. It is not entirely clear what “something white” sticking out of her top actually is (page 46), and the reader may assume it is just her bra strap. While the reader can ascertain something highly embarrassing involving Lisa’s bra or cleavage has occurred from the subsequent storyline, some sort of brief explanation of the “chicken cutlets” Denny exclaims about would be enlighten the reader. This is a small detail in a refreshingly upbeat teen novel. Staunton successfully portrays the struggles and humiliations of high school and the pressures of fitting in, succeeding, and seeking romance.
Alicia Copp Mokkonen, an educator, librarian and researcher, lives in Vancouver, BC.
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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.