Monday, November 12, 2007

Responsible by Darlene Ryan

This is the first Orca book that I've read, and I was pleased with the experience. The book, being Orca, was an easy read but yet tackled a serious subject. In Responsible Kevin is a new kid in town who just happens to get caught up in the wrong group of boys. The leader of the group is Nick, who rules the halls and delights in making kids miserable. Nick has a personal vendetta again Erin who doesn't cower under his tyranny. Her pleads to the principal to do something about Nick had gone unanswered aside from adding fuel to Nick's fire. Kevin, meanwhile, does as Nick requests, wanting to be accepted and fearing Nick's wrath. Eventually Kevin feels they should quit while they're ahead. Nick, though, doesn't like hearing his little minions telling him what to do, and starts to take out his power on Kevin. Soon, Kevin finds out about a plan Nick has to humiliate Erin and realizes he needs to prevent it from happening.

The overall message of the book, repeated multiple times to make sure it's clear, is that doing the right thing isn't always the easiest. In order to further the point, Kevin's father found money in the street and, even though they desperately needed it, he turned it into the police. I liked how the book used the two stories to get the message across. It's somewhat of a insurance that the reader walks away with what the book intended. This was also a compelling story. Just because series is for lower readers, doesn't mean they can't have entertaining and powerful stories. I really wanted to see Kevin succeed and find his way out of the mess he'd created by getting involved with Nick. This story is something teens can relate to, especially as they try to find where they belong in school. Just because a person is cool doesn't mean he's a good person to be friends with.

When I first picked up this book, I didn't have high expectations for it, but it proved to be a great story. Books don't need to be 200 pages long in order to have an important message. Sometimes less is more.

No comments: