Friday, January 16, 2015

Guy Friday- The Sinkhole

Cowan, Brad V. The Sinkhole (The Seven Stairs Crew #3)
September 26th 2014 by James Lorimer & Company
E ARC from

In this third book in The Seven Stair Crew series (Street Kings is first)
Cale gets a letter from his long estranged father, and it leads him to investigate different skating venues around his small Canadian community. With his group of friends, Cale solves the puzzles in the letters and is able to go to places where his father had skated years before. The somewhat annoying Toby, who is enthusiastic about skating but doesn't do it very well, is trying to get into the group as well, but the requirements for doing so involve very tough skateboarding tricks. Cale manages to reconnect with his father's past and gets to know him through this activity.
Strengths: Lots of good skateboarding desciptions, and this book seemed less confusingly Canadian than most of the Lorimer SPorts books. I don't know why I don't have the first book in my library, but I'm certainly looking forward to having the whole series. Cowan writes skateboarding without all of the stereotypical themes and scenes, and so many of my students are interested in this topic!
Weaknesses: That he doesn't know anything about his father and that his father sends him this mystery strained MY credulity a bit, but I don't think students will be bothered.
What I really think: I think that Lorimer has done some extensive research into what students want to read  (sports) and what teachers want to give them (issues). They must have a crack research and development team, and I for one am grateful. I wish there were something equivalent in the US.

Now if I could just get all of the middle grade writers to stop writing crappy fantasy books and write skate boarding and wrestling books! Seriously, people! Are publishers still looking for fantasy? Does it really sell? I actually feel rather betrayed when I get a request from an author I have liked, and they want me to look at their new book-- a medievalish fantasy about a youngster who has to save the kingdom from certain peril. No! We have all the medievalish fantasy we need. Go the route that Jennifer Nielsen went and write a book set in ancient Rome. I could use a ton more of those. Oh, wait. You need to do research instead of just making things up? ***Bangs head on keyboard.***


Iron Guy Carl said...

You tell them! I couldn't agree more. We've drowning in fantasy books but are woefully short on sports fiction. This particular book looks good. We don't have it but I'll send a link of your review to She Who Orders Books and see if we could get that series.

Stephanie Faris said...

Skate boarding and wrestling isn't really my thing, but this reminds me of a workshop I attended at a kidlit writer's conference. An agent said she didn't understand why so many kids' books are written from a girl's perspective. I looked around the room and there was one man and about 40 women. I thought, "I think I see the problem!"

Now a book about a girl wrestler could be interesting...

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