________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 39. . . .June 8, 2018


Raw Talent. (Orca Limelights).

Jocelyn Shipley.
Victoria, BC: Orca, August, 2018.
138 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1834-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1835-4 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1836-1 (epub).

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Christina Pike.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Cadence stands and waits until everybody is looking at her. “The Sweetland Singers!” she says, flipping her long dark hair. “We’re pretty famous too! And we’re local.”

Not to mention humble. I think I might barf.

“Great suggestion,” Vanessa says.“Thanks, Cade.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll ask our director at rehearsal tonight. Happy to help.” Cadence smiles at Heath. “I’ll probably have a solo. I’ll dedicate it to Sunflower Farm and the memory of Heath and Vanessa’s dad.”

Definitely going to barf.

The Sweetland Singers are famous. They win all kinds of awards at music festivals. And after they won an international competition last summer, their name was added to the welcome sign on the road into town.

Okay, I will confess that I’m totally intimidated by the Sweetland Singers. I auditioned for them shortly after we moved here. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.

Jasmeer passes me the clipboard and pen. “Here you go.”


Raw Talent, by Jocelyn Shipley, tells the story of 14- year-old Paisley and her love of singing and her battle with stage fright. Because Paisley lives in a home with a mother who teaches music at university and plays the flute with the symphony, the expectation is that Paisley would love music too. The problem is Paisley’s idea of music does not match her mother’s idea.

      Raw Talent is much more than a simple story of a young girl trying to live up to the expectations set by her family. It is also about jealousy, cyber bullying and facing one’s fears. The character Shipley has created has to find strength to ignore the taunts of another girl, Vanessa, while facing her biggest fear, stage fright. Paisley is like other 14-year-olds; she is insecure and trying to find her way. It is a path that is filled with lies that keep building and building. Ultimately, Paisley has to decide what is the most important – what she thinks of herself or others.

      A timely story, well written.

Highly Recommended.

Christina Pike is the principal of Macdonald Drive Junior High in St. John’s, NL.

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