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The Yo-Yo Prophet.

Written by Karen Krossing Orca Book Publishers, 2011 978-1-55469-827-1 (pb) $12.95 for Grades 7 and up

Fiction | Performance | Resourcefulness | Yo-Yo Tricks

Fourteen-year-old Calvin Layne's life is anything but ideal. Nicknamed Lo-Cal for his small stature, he is an easy target for high school bullies. With his mother dead and his father AWOL, he lives with his ailing grandmother above her dry-cleaning store. As his fragile existence is increasingly threatened by his grandmother's failing health and the impending sale of their home and store, Calvin finds solace and a sense of control over his life in practising yo-yo tricks. One day Calvin yo-yos on a street corner and discovers the thrill of public performance. I'm in the zone. The crowd and the street are vanishing, leaving a calm circle of light and heat around me ... It's a dream.

Calvin rehearses a routine but at his first performance he is seen by a gang of girls from school whose leader, Rozelle, demands a cut of his earnings in return for becoming his manager. Unable to resist her, Calvin is swept up in her scheme to create hype by claiming that while yo-yoing he can predict the future. Calvin's life begins to spiral out of control as his grandmother's health deteriorates, the threat of homelessness looms, and Calvin himself falls victim to his own yo-yo prophesying.

Krossing weaves a well-paced coming-of-age story with a diverse set of finely drawn characters. Calvin's awkwardness, Rozelle's brash style and her friend Sasha's jealousy feel authentic, and Calvin's attempts to remain true to himself while negotiating high school and the larger adult world will ring true for many young readers. Readers will root for Calvin as he tries to hold his family together while making difficult choices and will be rewarded by a satisfyingly happy ending. Best of all, Krossing's descriptions of yo-yo tricks are vivid and tangible enough to make some readers reach for a yo-yo of their own.


Please note: Some tables or figures were omitted from this article.

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Article Details
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Author:Schindler, Tracey
Publication:Canadian Children's Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2012
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