CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 22. . . .February 12, 2016
Randi has spent her entire life living in her brother’s shadow. Even though Randi is the older sibling, she has grown up taking care of her brother Toby who has autism. Toby is a great brother, and Randi is very close with him. However, she cannot help but feel she deserves more time to herself. Their mother refuses to get a respite worker, and so it is up to Randi to care for Toby when their mother is at work. This situation becomes increasingly complicated when Randi finds out her one passion, drama class, can only be held after school, precisely the time when Randi has to pick Toby up from his school. What proceeds is a series of deepening lies as Randi sneaks Toby to her drama practices after school without telling her mother. When her mother finds out about the deception, the question becomes one of whether or not Randi will be able to continue with her dream of becoming an actress.
As part of the “Orca Currents” series, On Cue is aimed at reluctant readers who might also be experiencing difficulties with their reading. The book is a quick read, written in a fast-paced style that has the plot constantly progressing due to the action and characters. The straightforward vocabulary makes the book accessible to a wide range of students, but the text is not so simple that it becomes noticeable. The author also takes advantage of short, concise sentences to ensure comprehension and interest in her readers although this style does consequently sacrifice the depth of the novel to appeal to this specific audience. One of the appealing factors of On Cue is its contemporary subject matter comprising school, classes, crushes and family. Almost any youth could find something to relate to in this book, and the addition of a character with autism creates a unique element to appeal to even more people. While Randi occasionally comes across as a whiny teenager, she nevertheless exposes realistic concerns that affect every teenager and the weights that are put on their young shoulders. A great book for struggling readers, On Cue will appeal to a wide range of readers with varying abilities, and it could also be a good text to introduce students to the concept of empathy.
Stephanie Johnson is a graduate of the Master of Library and Information Studies Program from the University of Alberta.
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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.