Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{February 24, 2011}   Bang, by Norah McClintock

Synopsis from Orca Books: “‘The guy died. I’m not surprised. Also, I’m relieved.’  A robbery goes terribly wrong.  Quentin and JD have been friends forever. Even after JD gets in trouble Quentin stands by him. Hanging out together Quentin learns JD has a gun and when they are caught in a robbery JD uses the gun—with deadly results. Trying to cover up the crime and escape detection, Quentin gets in even deeper than he expected and learns that the only person he can trust is himself. Especially when his freedom—and his future—is at stake.”

Orca Book Publishers is an organization that produces fiction for reluctant readers, especially readers on the lower spectrum, with a reading level of about second grade to fourth grade.  Bang comes from the Orca Soundings series, which is for those ages 12+, and is written in a way that the reader, especially a reluctant reader, can easily understand.  Orca Sounding books are quickly becoming my favorite series for my struggling readers!

I really love that these Orca Soundings books are so interesting!   I picked this up at the library today–it was calling my name.  Bang is a great coming of age novel in which the main character, Quentin, learns valuable lessons about truth, lies, and friendship.  It speaks volumes to teens about the destructiveness of drug use, anger, and idleness, while directly showing that there are always consequences for our actions.  And, while the novel has wonderful themes for exploration, it also has an extremely engaging format.  McClintock did a superb job creating the voice for Quentin, who narrates his story just like teenagers speak today: very conversational and jumbled.  Instead of telling a straightforward story, McClintock engages the reader through small revelations.  The first chapter draws the reader in through an explanation of events, though nothing is given away, and the reader is kept guessing throughout.  Each chapter builds off the next, revealing a small portion of the “incident” that Quentin is trying to describe.  Quentin starts explaining the story, then back tracks, only to revamp his story, and the technique is repeated throughout the novel’s entirety.  This is a wonderful format to engross the reader, and I absolutely love it.  There is just enough mystery to peak interest, while not overwhelming or confusing the reader.  I recommend this for all age groups, but especially reluctant readers.  I strongly believe that this novel, along with other Orca Soundings books, will push reluctant readers to progressively read more, and build their way to higher reading levels.   Three and a half stars!

Check out my Orca Book Publishers page for more information, titles, and reviews for reluctant readers!


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