Lowenburg, Bill. The Zorki Chronicles. Amazon 2013 464p $16.99 ISBN 978-1-4922-7474-2 hs/adult Conflict VG-BN
Who isn’t attracted to the opening line: “Never let school interfere with your education”? This line sets the tone for inquisitive, thoughtful teens who are in for a treat as they read about Miles, an intelligent, rule-breaking teen who is abandoned by his single father; his best friend Bird, a walking encyclopedia and math freak; and Katie, NHS president who is living a double life in private. When Miles completes a “Problems of Democracy” class project, he is interrogated by the FBI because of photos that show him objecting to the president of the United States. Set in the near future, this book will cause the reader to question how prescient the headlines that start each chapter may be. What passes as news has degenerated into tabloid headlines with a nugget of chilling “hard news” thrown in. As Miles becomes a “forced dropout” due to violating school rules, he gets an education from the adults in the community. Miles dabbles in photography and classic literary works of dissent, from Russian writers of old to current writers. Can he and his close friends create change through civil disobedience? The ending of the story brings back the “Crash, Boom, Love” demolition derby from Lowenburg’s previous book, decisions related to an unwanted pregnancy, and the new military draft, and it ponders what the future may hold for Miles and others like him. This novel provides thoughtful reading that seamlessly blends fact, wit, and humor.
Summary: Miles documents his town, his friends, and his political concerns with his Zorki (a camera that uses film). In this novel set in the near future, the national government and school policies are all under attack by Miles and his close set of friends. Can student dissent create change? Gr 9+
Student dissent --Lois McNicol