________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 1 . . . . September 4, 2009


In the Woods. (Orca Soundings).

Robin Stevenson.
Victoria, BC: Orca. 2009.
124 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (bk.), $16.95(hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55469-200-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55469-201-9 (hc.).

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Emily Sobool.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


I'm about to head back to the path, back to my bike and out of here, when something catches my eye. A brightness, a color, something that doesn't belong in this place of muted greens and browns. A flash of blue. Something sticking out from behind a tree. I move toward it, around the tree, bend close. It's a bundle of blankets. I pull back the top layer cautiously, and there it is. Not a raccoon or a cougar or anything that belongs in the woods.

It's a baby.

A freaking baby.


When Cameron discovers a newborn baby that has been abandoned in the woods, his timely rescue is viewed by most as a miracle. Yet, the real reason for his bike-ride to the woods that day was a phone call he received from his twin sister, Katie, imploring him to go to the trail by the lake as soon as possible. Cameron is full of questions for his sister upon delivering the baby safely to the hospital, trying to understand how she knew to send him out there and what her possible involvement was with the abandonment.

     Although they are twins, the relationship between Cameron and Katie is distant due to their contrasting levels of scholastic achievement. While Cameron struggles with a learning disability and considers himself to be "screwed-up," Katie is a straight A student with high expectations for the future. Cameron's discovery in the woods and its resulting events present an opportunity for him to reconnect with his sister through gaining an understanding that she is not actually perfect in every way, and that he has some strengths of his own.

     Told in the first person point of view, Cameron's story is a fast-paced and engrossing read. Stevenson deals with mature issues, including sexual abuse and teen pregnancy, in an accessible fashion by employing a simple writing style that is ideal for an audience with still-developing reading skills. The plot of the story moves forward swiftly, progressing primarily through the use of dialogue that has a natural quality. In the Woods is an interesting exploration of sibling relationships and family responsibility that will appeal to both genders.


Emily Sobool is a librarian in Vancouver, BC.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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