Synopsis: Ethan has been in foster care since his father went to jail. He had been on the peripheral of a gang, but never quite a member, when he was sent away. Now Ethan is trying to turn his life around and is participating in a photography program for at-risk kids. Ethan takes photographs everywhere he goes, but now someone wants his camera. Why? And what will they do to get it?
Author: Norah McClintock is part of my Canadiana phase, my attempting to read as many local authors as I can get my hands on. Some of her novels take place in Toronto, which is where she lives. She has won the Arthur Ellis Award for juvenile fiction five times.
Cover: From the moment I picked up this book I kept wondering if it was a little bigger than the normal mass-market size. It seemed taller and thinner than usual but didn’t really feel all that different in my hand. I pondered this the entire time I was reading and finally measured it against another book: same width but a little higher. Mystery solved.
As you can see, the photo art is of a boy holding a camera. The focus is a little fuzzy so that the only thing clear is his lower face and shirt. It isn’t a stunning picture by any means, but it does have a certain je ne se quio. There is an unidentifiable factor that makes the cover appealing to me.
Character: Ethan is a teenage boy in foster care who has had a few run-ins with the cops, was mixed up with local gangs, and now likes to take photos… That is about all we know. This novel is not strong on character development, possibly because it is a short and easy read meant for younger kids. It is the plot that drives the story.
Quote: The idea was to really look at the world around us and try to capture it with our cameras.
The Verdict: A good present for your younger brother or sister, but not attention-grabbing enough for an avid book devourer of the older age bracket.
What do you like to take photos of? What would you do if you caught something on film that someone else didn’t want seen?