________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 23 . . . . February 19, 2016


Under Threat. (Orca Soundings).

Robin Stevenson.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2016.
129 pp., pbk., pdf & epub., $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1131-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1132-4 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1133-1 (epub).

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Libby McKeever.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



He thinks I'm my mom. "You're wrong about everything," I say.

"You're a mother. You should know better."

"Why are you doing this?" I demand. "Who are you?"

"Baby killer. Maybe we'll murder
your child," he says. "Your daughter. Her name's Franny, right?"

I hang up, drop the phone and stare at it like it's a poisonous snake that might suddenly attack me. My heart us racing, my whole body shaking.

They know my name.

Franny has found something wonderful in her new relationship with her girlfriend Leah. They both love horses and enjoy time riding and being together. Even though both families have accepted that the girls are gay, there is one thing that is hanging over Franny's head. As Leah's family are devout Christians, Franny is desperately worried that, if they find out what her parents do, it may jeopardize the girls' relationship.

      As doctors who perform abortions, Franny's parents are no strangers to judgement, but when they start getting threatening phone calls, one of which Franny answers when she is home alone, she is really scared, both for her parents and her relationship, as now that the police are involved, Leah's family are sure to find out. To try and head off disaster, Franny decides to tell Leah's mother about her parents' occupation, but when Leah's brother Jake discovers the truth, he is angry and confronts Franny, making it clear that "killing babies" is something he cannot support. When Franny decides that Jake's angry outburst could indicate that he is the one behind the threats, she reports him to the police. This action may be the one which ultimately threatens Franny's ability to be with Leah, the one thing she was trying so hard to preserve.

      Under Threat is part of the "Orca Sounding" series and will appeal to the series' intended readers as well as a broader audience. The characters are well-drawn, and the story moves quickly with unseen twist and turns, making it an exciting read. The author's treatment of both gay relationships and doctors who perform abortions is really well-handled. For some readers, this may be the first time they have read about either topic in a fictional setting. Stevenson has done an excellent job as she brings opposing viewpoints to light, allowing readers to make their own decisions.

      Stevenson is author of 18 novels for kids and teens. Her novels include The World Without Us and The Summer We Saved the Bees, as well as the Silver Birch Award winner, Record Breaker, and the Governor General's Literary Award finalist, A Thousand Shades of Blue. Stevenson's first nonfiction book, Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community, will be published in the spring of 2016.

Highly Recommended.

Libby McKeever is the Youth Services Librarian at the Whistler Public Library in Whistler, BC.

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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