Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bike Thief (Orca Soundings)

Feutl, Rita.  Bike Thief (Orca Soundings)  Orca  2014  125p  $9.95  ISBN 978-1-4598-0569-9  ms/hs  Conflict  VG-BN

Nick and his sister are in foster care after the death of their parents in a car accident.  When his sister accidentally breaks a TV, Nick offers to get a new one before their foster parents arrive home.  Nick goes to Dwayne, who always seems to have access to extra “product” in his dealings with shady characters.  Since Nick has no money, Dwayne requires that Nick steal bikes, break them down and interchange parts so the “new” bike can be resold without being recognized as a stolen bike.  Dwayne knows Nick can do this, as Nick built his own bike.  As Dwayne pushes Nick to recruit others to help steal bikes, Nick realizes he is getting in over his head.  Violence and betrayal surface and Nick must decide whether to continue his risky business or come clean.  The way that Nick handles the situation indicates his strong moral character.  Evil gang leaders, friends, and supportive adults pepper this novel that has a message embedded into the plot.  The novel uses very easy vocabulary that keeps the tension going right to the end, and it will appeal to teens who are struggling with reading.            

Orca Soundings books provide hi/lo reading for today’s teenagers from middle through high school.  The reading levels range from 2.0 to 4.5, and the situations presented are realistic to today’s teens. There is often a moral to the story embedded in the plot.

Summary: When Nick bargains a replacement for a broken TV, he gets in over his head as he is required to steal bikes to cover the cost of the new TV.  A hi/lo (3rd-grade reading level) book that reflects real-life situations of inner-city teens. Grades 6-12.    

Gangs–Fiction                                         --Lois McNicol

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