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{March 24, 2013}   {Review} Change of Heart by Norah McClintock

17464633From Goodreads: “Robbie,” my dad said. “You told me yourself how Billy has been behaving. And you know the case against him-he had a grudge against the victim, he was found with the weapon, he was at the scene. Motive, method, opportunity.”

Robyn’s best friend Billy has been a mess ever since her other best friend Morgan dumped him. To make matters worse, Morgan started dating hockey star Sean Sloane right afterward. Billy is a vegetarian and an animal rights activist-he wouldn’t hurt a fly. But when Sean winds up dead on the ice, Billy becomes the prime suspect. Can Robyn prove her friend’s innocence?

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This is my fourth McClintock novel and I must say, I really do enjoy her YA novels. The three that I read prior to this one were all part of the Orca Soundings books for reluctant readers, which I stumbled across a few years ago, and which my struggling readers really enjoy.  Orca Sounding books are written by many different authors, and they’re engaging in that the storyline is at teen level, but the writing is for that of second through fourth grade readers.  This is very helpful when students read below their grade level, especially as the stories are engaging and help promote a love of reading, which is key.

Change of Heart is the seventh book in the Robyn Hunter series, but it stands completely alone, as I suspect all the novels in this series do.  It wasn’t until after I finished reading the novel that I realized it was part of a series, but in truth, it doesn’t matter either way.  McClintock introduces the characters quickly and begins the story, giving readers just enough background and information, and the best part is that, though it’s not an Orca Sounding book, it’s still written for the reluctant reader.

Robyn Hunter is stuck between a rock and a hard place here as her best friend, Billy, is charged for murder.  Truth be told, it doesn’t look good—from the initial fighting and stalking to the possession of the weapon with his fingerprints and victim’s blood on it, everything points to him.  But Robyn doesn’t believe it.  And she’s the only one.

I wouldn’t say that this is Robyn is necessarily a modern-day sleuth, but she does slowly begin to piece things together, more-so through perseverance than ingenuity.  It was very interesting to see how the puzzle fit together, and I liked that, each time I had a suspect, more information was presented to change my tune.  However, I wasn’t really a fan of depressed, angry Billy, shy Robyn, or pissed off Morgan.  That being said, I enjoyed the novel, but the characters made be a bit angry.  I think this would be great for a seventh or eighth grader, though.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

Lerner Publishing Group has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read a copy of this novel, via Netgalley.

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