Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grant, Vicki. Identificacion.

Grant, Vicki. Identificacion.
Orca 2009 112p 9.95 978-1-55469-134-1 hs/adult

Christopher finds a wallet and attempts to return it, unsuccessfully. This teen from the "other side of the tracks" follows a path to self destruction as he tries to escape his problems by assuming the identity of the person whose wallet he found. Upon finding a wallet, Christopher tries to do the right thing. Life has another path for Chris, however. We sense that Chris feels picked on from the very beginning of the book when he discusses Mr. Oxner, a teacher who punishes Chris repeatedly for every little thing. When rich girl Alexa shows him some attention, Chris believes that she will go to a dance with him. Imagine his feeling of inadequacy when she refuses to go! Feeling himself trapped in a poor relationship with his stepfather and feeling the derision of his own mother, he decided to use the money and credit cards in the wallet to escape. In this "Prince and the Pauper" novelette, Vicki Grant leads us on a journey of self destruction. The careful reader will "catch" Grant's attempt to foreshadow a negative ending when Chris calls the home of the man whose wallet he found only to hear that no such person lived at that address. That's a definite red flag that an adult might catch, but tragically, Chris does not think it through. He continues his transformation by purchasing a suit, then by using the credit cards to pay for food, a taxi ride, and a hotel room.
There is suspense, and Grant catches us unprepared when at the end of the story, she shocks the reader into realizing that Chris has ruined his life because the identity he stole was that of a criminal. The reader is left to guess what will happen to Chris after the policeman arrests him for murder, drug deals and arms possession.
This is a gem of a bilingual story with wonderful character development and a compelling plot. The translation is perfect. MS

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