CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 22 . . . . June 22, 2007
After Joel Osler’s failed shoplifting attempt in Toronto, his mother sends him to Turtle Lake to live with his father and new stepmother, Chrissy. While happy to be with his father and escape the shame of his would-be crime, the 12-year-old is not so thrilled with the idea of spending time alone with Chrissy when his father suddenly leaves on a business trip. Joel resents Chrissy for spilling the details of his attempted heist to a classmate’s mother – a classmate, Matt, who seems intent on making Joel miserable. When their teacher’s compass goes missing, Joel is sure Matt is trying to frame him.
To escape any interaction with his stepmother, Joel takes on a volunteer position at the local animal shelter. He also reluctantly befriends Paige, an intelligent yet odd girl in his class, when he discovers they have something in common. On his bus ride to Turtle Lake, Joel met a strange man who claimed to have a map to stolen treasure. Paige also encountered the same man snooping around her home. With youthful curiosity, Joel and Paige embark on unraveling the mystery surrounding “Bus Guy” and finding the stolen treasure first.
As the story is told in the first-person, Joel’s angry, resentful thoughts and conversations with others are entirely believable. Struggling to accept his parents’ divorce, Joel smothers himself in self-pity and is looking to blame everyone else for his miserable mood and bad behaviour. Leavey’s careful writing makes readers both care about and be annoyed by Joel. Leavey’s characters are all quite interesting even though readers know very little about most of them. She gives readers only enough information about each person to make readers wish she explored them more fully. Even the dogs at the animal shelter seem to have a story to tell if Leavey would only indulge readers.
Treasure at Turtle Lake is a fast-paced and an attention-grabbing read. This would be an excellent book for a reluctant reader. As the book is divided into bite-size chapters, the reader can decide to take it slowly or to keep reading “just one more chapter.”
Lori Giles-Smith is an Assistant Librarian at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.