McClintock, Norah. Back.
Orca 2009 93p 9.95 978-1-551143-989-1 ms/hs
The family of a boy, beaten into a coma, must decide how to respond when the perpetrator returns from his jail term. Sides are chosen by neighbors. In a gripping read, teens must decide whether to seek revenge or support the reformed perpetrator. Another Orca Soundings hit by Norah McClintock. A boy, Eden, is beaten savagely with a crowbar for coming to the aid of a pregnant teenage girl who is being taunted and hit by the baby’s teenage father, Jojo. Eden’s brother, Ardell, spends two years brooding about the disintegration of his family, his comatose brother, and what he will do when Jojo returns from his two year prison sentence. Jojo is released from prison and quietly returns to the old neighborhood. The neighborhood is a study in contrasts. A neighboring teen narrates the tension-filled story relating the hostility of Ardell’s family toward Jojo, the reappearance of the girl along with her son and her desire to renew the relationship with Jojo against her father’s wishes. What not many people see is the loving manner in which Jojo takes care of his mother who has cancer. Revenge is at the heart of this social problem novel. The neighborhood is forced to take sides on the issue of whether Jojo has paid his debt to society or whether he should be harassed and shunned by the neighbors. Issues presented here are a vivid reminder of how families affected by violence. whether the perpetrator of violence or the recipient of violence, are left to deal with the fallout long after the event occurred. McClintock writes in simple prose alternating passion with tenderness. This book is a surefire hi/lo reader that will appeal to all middle and high school students whether from the inner-city or the suburbs. Highly recommended. LMN