The Yo-Yo Prophet

I received the Yo-Yo Prophet by Karen Krossing as a submission for the YABA.

“Small, shy Calvin becomes the Yo-Yo Prophet when his street tricks get the attention of a bully named Rozelle.”

I was never big on yo-yos but I really enjoyed this novel. Calvin is a young man who is thrust into a lot of responsibility and I think he handled it really well. His fears about bullying and his difficulty with being abandoned by his father after his mother dies are realistic and heartbreaking. This is a good book for middle school boys or young teens. I think reading the descriptions of Calvin’s yo-yo performances will make kids want to dust off their old yo-yos and learn the tricks. Honestly I think the reason the book worked for me is it’s about an underdog geek who succeeds. I have a weakness for underdogs.

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Escape Velocity

I received Escape Velocity by Robin Stevenson as a submission for the YABA.

Forced to live with the mother who abandoned her at birth, Lou goes looking for truth in her mother’s fiction.

This book was somehow simultaneously extremely eloquent, and in plain language. The diction was perfect for this type of novel. I started off skeptical about the plot because science terms, druggie dads, and heart attacks are not things I enjoy reading about, but after the first chapter I was hooked. The novel is mostly about the relationship between Lou and the mother who abandoned her the day she was born. I thought Stevenson did a fabulous job of demonstrating how a teen’s identity or self-worth can be shaped by how others see them.  Lou is a strong character. Her mother isn’t very likable, but she’s fascinating to read about. I enjoyed the novel and think it could start some lively book club discussion about parenthood and family.