Friday, January 19, 2018

Guy Friday- Checked

28954113Kadohata, Cynthia. Checked.
February 6th 2018 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Conor and his dad live in a small house in California. His dad, a former hockey player, is a traffic police officer, having switched from a street beat, and is recently divorced from Jenny. Conor plays a high level of hockey, and has a lot of extra practices and training. He suspects that this concentration on hockey might have led to the divorce, but the two guys have quite a pleasant existence revolving around the sport. It also revolves a lot around Sinbad, the Doberman they rescued from a high kill shelter. Sinbad goes running with them, and also helps keep Conor safe when he occasionally has to be home alone after school. When Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor's priorities change a bit. He knows that a lot of money is spent on his hockey ($15,000 a year, he estimates), and Sinbad's treatment is going to cost $7,000. There's little to cut back on, but Conor does try to pick up a few jobs and cut back on some of the extra tutoring. His father is struggling with several issues himself (the car accident death of Conor's mother when he was two, divorce, stress of his job, worries about money). Conor can hear him crying at night, but his father is always there for Conor and supportive of him. Will the two be able to take care of Sinbad and themselves, and find a good life balance?
Strengths: FINALLY, a stressed and grieving parent who not only attends to his child but also does an excellent job of hiding and downplaying his struggles to his child. After all the frankly insulting portrayals of grieving parents, this was welcome and refreshing. I would bet money that Kadohata's children played hockey-- the sports details about practice, equipment, cost, and emotional involvement are vivid and engaging. The details about dealing with Sinbad's illness were realistic and full of heart. Even the style reflects Conor's energy and focus-- it's hard to explain, but even though this clocked in at about 400 pages, the pell-mell style made this a quick read. Details about living in an area affected by forest fires were also intriguing. Even the cover is fantastic.
Weaknesses: This could have been edited a bit in order to make is a more accessible length for hockey players, who often want shorter books. As evidenced by Conor's own experience, they are busy people who sometimes only get time to read in the car!
What I really think: This is Kadohata's best work. It should have been shorter, but was wonderfully readable. Definitely purchasing.

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment