Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Orca Book Publishers is a group I've mentioned in several posts in the past. I've had the chance to read and review numerous titles. Most are aimed at YA readers with lower reading levels. The subjects featured in the short (usual just over 100 pages) are, to quote several popular TV shows, "ripped from the headlines" making them high interest and quite appealing for reluctant readers.
Here are some brief words about the most recent titles I've had the pleasure to read.
BACK by Norah McClintock

A young man just released from prison has a neighborhood upset and ready for revenge. Jojo has been nothing but trouble from an early age, and when he beat Eden Withrow within an inch of his life, he became the most unpopular guy around. Most folks don’t think the two year sentence he served was nearly long enough.

Ardell, Eden’s younger brother, can’t stand to see Jojo living back across the street. His brother has been in a coma since the attack and is not likely to recover. How can Jojo return to the neighborhood and pick up life where he left off? Ardell is determined to make him pay.

RILEY PARK by Diane Tullson

Corbin and Darius are close friends. They are into the party scene and spend considerable time at Riley Park. This is the story of the last party they attended and its tragic end.

There was the usual drinking and stunting that fateful night. Corbin remembers their daring jump from high on the cliff into the lake. It was a thrill they would be able to share for the rest of their lives. Who knew Darius would be dead by the next day?

RUNNING THE RISK by Lesley Choyce

Sean has lived a fairly low-key existence. He does well in school and has parents who support him and expect him to head to college when he finishes high school. They really don’t even care if he gets an after-school job, instead thinking he should focus his attention on success in school. But the lure of some extra pocket money and a little excitement lead him to a job at Burger Heaven.

Flipping burgers is not Sean’s dream job, but it’s keeping him busy. He never imagined it would offer the rush of adrenalin that would turn him into a risk-taker. It happened shortly after midnight on a Friday. The guys entered the restaurant wearing ski masks and carrying guns. When one of them stepped up to the counter and looked Sean in the eyes, something clicked and Sean seemed to know exactly what to do. He calmly handed them the money from each of the cash drawers. They accepted the cash and left only having fired a single shot at the ceiling.

IMPACT by James C. Dekker

IMPACT is the story of a family facing the violent death of their oldest son. Told from the point of view of younger son Jordan, the story reveals his guilt about the death of his older brother and the impact the event has on the young man’s parents.

Basically, the guilty parties have been apprehended and arrested, and now it’s time for the trial. Reliving the beating death of their son and brother is a horrific challenge. They want justice but they never imagined how slowly and painfully the wheels of justice would turn. Despite the identification of suspects, the gathering of evidence, the interviewing of witnesses, and preparing for trial, this family attempts to return to a normal life.

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