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A Canadian Gem

19 Sep

One of the Canadian books I picked up this summer was Ebb & Flow, a novel in verse by Heather Smith.

EBB&FLOW_FrontCover_sm

As soon as I saw the cover, I knew I would love it. When I picked it up I was even more certain. The book had heft. The paper was a better quality than most books giving it a little more weight, and the trim size, 5 1/4″ x 8 3/4″, makes it just a little taller and narrower than the more traditional 5 1/2″ x 8 1/4″.  It is the perfect size for the sparse language of Smith’s poems, that slowly unfold Jett’s story.

This is a quiet tale, of a complex character. It is heart-breaking and uplifting.

Publisher’s Summary:

One summer,
after a long plane ride
and a rotten bad year
I went to Grandma Jo’s.
It was my mother’s idea.
Jett, what you need is a change of scenery.
I think she needed a change of scenery, too.
One without me.
Because that rotten bad year?
That was my fault.

Thus begins the poignant story, told in free verse, of eleven-year-old Jett. Last year, Jett and his mother had moved to a new town for a fresh start after his father went to jail. But Jett soon learned that fresh starts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. When he befriended a boy with a difficult home life, Jett found himself in a cycle of bad decisions that culminated in the betrayal of a friend – a shameful secret he still hasn’t forgiven himself for. Will a summer spent with his unconventional grandmother help Jett find his way to redemption?

Writing in artfully crafted free-verse vignettes, Heather T. Smith uses a deceptively simple style to tell a powerful and emotionally charged story. The engaging narrative and the mystery of Jett’s secret keep the pages turning and will appeal to both reluctant and avid readers. This captivating book offers a terrific opportunity for classroom discussions about the many ways to tell a story and how a small number of carefully chosen words can have a huge impact. It also showcases the positive character traits of empathy resilience, courage, and responsibility.

 

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