CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 27. . . .March 14, 2014
In this sequel to Howl (Vol. XVIII, No. 9, Oct. 28, 2011), 13-year-old Robin, her father, and her siblings continue dealing with their mother’s death and a move to Ontario to live with the children’s grandmother, Griff. In the year since Mom died, Robin has made some positive strides: she has become close friends with Zo-Zo, and she continues to work with The Wild Place, an animal sanctuary she established in the first book. However, Robin also suffers from much self-doubt. She is petrified to give a speech in front of her schoolmates; she feels pressured to go along with Zo-Zo’s militant actions protesting animal cruelty; and she worries that telling Griff and her father about older sister Ari’s eating disorder will cause more family troubles.
When Robin and Zo-Zo discover that a neighbor is operating a factory chicken farm, they try to let the birds go—and end up causing more harm than good when several hens are killed along the highway and the farmer discovers their identities. Zo-Zo argues for even more militant tactics to shut down the farm completely. Griff, sensing that further retaliation may be in the planning, argues for persuasion; and Robin, who agrees with Griff in principle, doesn’t know if she has the strength to follow her own truth.
Although TheTruth About Brave is a novel full of troubled children, Hood-Cady does a good job resolving these serious issues in a realistic way. Griff sits at the moral centre of the story, offering advice and support without forcing her views on others. Particularly satisfying is the scene in which Robin and Ari both agree to do something that is difficult for them: Robin will prepare and deliver her speech about kid heroes, and Ari will go into counseling for her eating disorder. Neither action promises a quick fix for what ails them, but both are now on the road to recovery. The Truth About Brave should be popular with fans of Howl, the first book, and readers concerned with animal cruelty.
Kay Weisman, a librarian and reviewer, now writes “Information Matters” for School Library Monthly and works as a youth librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.
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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.