________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 21 . . . . June 8, 2007


Bang. (Orca Soundings).

Norah McClintock.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2007.
95 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-55143-654-8 (pbk), ISBN 978-1-55143-656-2 (cl.).

Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15.

Review by Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen.

*** /4


Act normal? The guy died, and JD wants me to act normal? I think he must be crazy. But you know what? Even though the guy died, I remember to take the brown paper bag containing my lunch out of the fridge and put it in my backpack. I remember to grab my geography homework off the end of the dinette table. I put it in my backpack too. And just as I'm going out the door, I remember that even though school started only two weeks ago, my history teacher has already planned a field trip to the museum. This is the last day to hand in the permission slip. So I go back into the kitchen and get it off the fridge door where my mother stuck it after she signed it. I lock up after myself. We take the stairs instead of the elevator because at this time of the morning, with everyone headed off to school or work, the elevator takes forever.

Bang is the story of Q and JD who have been friends since elementary school. They are in their second-to-last year of high school. Q isn't sure that he should still be friends with JD after JD got in some trouble the year before, but Q likes Leah, JD's twin sister, so he continues to hang out with JD. Initially, Q and JD don't get into anymore trouble than anyone else their age. One day though, they get into an argument with a guy because they are using the swings in the park. The guy threatens to report them to the police because they have been smoking pot. Soon after, Q grabs a few items out of a canteen van and is caught by the van's owner who turns out to be the guy that Q and JD were arguing with the day before. The guy tells them that he is making a citizen's arrest. But, JD has a gun.

     Bang can be a bit difficult to follow at times because the narration jumps back and forth in time. At times, we are being given the narration after the events have happened, and, at other times, we get the narration as the events occur. This approach can leave readers a bit disoriented as to where they are in the story.

     As is typical with a hi/lo book Bang is quite fast-paced. The slightly odd narration style makes it easier to cover longer amounts of time in a shorter space. As well, the narration style allows for more development of the character of Q who must come to terms with what he and JD have done and the consequences that follow. JD also develops a bit as a character but not as much as Q. Both JD and Q are believable in their situation, but they seem to be younger than I believe the characters are supposed to be. Since they are in their second-to-last year of high school, the main characters have to be 16 or 17 but they strike me more as 14 or 15.

     Bang is a good story from Norah McClintock and “Orca Soundings” --  fast-paced with good characters and believable actions and settings.


Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen is a student in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at UBC, Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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