Orca. (Orca Soundings). Jan. 2021. 128p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781459827981.
Gr 9 Up–Set on the beaches of Nice, this story follows teenager Jean-Luc, who is reeling and behaving recklessly after the death of his sister. His parents send him to France for the summer to work for his great-uncle Henri selling socca, a type of crepe. While there, he meets Selina, a pickpocket under the control of Le Patron, who leads a criminal ring of pickpockets. The plot is fast-paced as Jean-Luc begins to understand Selina’s dangerous circumstances, and the coast of France sets a charming setting for their escapades. Jean-Luc deals with relatable themes like grief and personal responsibility as he helps Selina get out of an abusive situation and helps his uncle prepare for an important catering event. The text is written at a third-grade reading level and a number of features are included to assist reading accessibility, particularly for those who are dyslexic. This engaging text is action-packed and will appeal to striving readers. However, the abuse that Selina experiences at the hands of Le Patron makes the book more suitable for a high school audience. Jean-Luc’s appearance isn’t described and Selina has dark eyes and hair.
VERDICT This accessible, fast-moving story features a unique setting and a moving story of personal redemption. Recommended for high school collections in need of hi-lo materials.

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