________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number . . . .September 25, 2015


Bad Business. (Orca Currents).

Diane Dakers.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2015.
122 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0969-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0971-0 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0972-7 (epub).

Grade 6-10 / Ages 11-15.

Review by Stephanie Johnson.

**1/2 /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


When I get home, I go straight to my room and dump the contents of my bag onto my bed. I wear this tiny cross-body bag when I’m working. It keeps my money safer than if I just stuffed it into my pockets. When I empty the bag today, I have three ten-dollar bills from Mr. Finch and a twenty from Mrs. Low. As usual, there’s a flowery pink envelope from her Mrs. Naulty.

I fire up the computer to put today’s earnings –sixty dollars–into my spreadsheet. While it’s booting up, I tear open Mrs. N.’s envelope. Why does she bother putting the money in an envelope every week? It’s such a waste. I should start giving them back to her.

I stop cold. Today, the envelope doesn’t contain the usual pair of five-dollar bills. This time, there are two $100 bills in there…

What a big fat hassle. Now I have to go back to her house and tell her she messed up. Again. She’s getting so confused. How could she mistake a 100 on a bill for a 5? The numbers don’t look anything alike. What a pain in the butt. She’s such a pain in the butt…I worked hard today. All I want to do is lie in bed and see if there’s anything new on Facebook. I do not feel like going back over to Mrs. Naulty’s. And I sure do not want to explain yet another screw-up to her…

Maybe I should just keep her money. That would be easier for everyone. If I kept her two hundred bucks, Mrs. Naulty wouldn’t feel stupid. Roger wouldn’t think she’s crazy and stuff her in an old folks’ home. And I would be that much closer to my SUN goal. Don’t even think about it. I shake my head. I cannot keep this money. But what would it hurt if I add the two hundred bucks to my Excel total? Just to see.


Lindy is obsessed with polar bears: always has been, always will be. Imagine her excitement when she discovers there is an education program involving a two-week trip to the Arctic where she can see real, live polar bears! The downside to this trip is that it costs a lot of money, but Lindy has a plan for this. She works around the neighbourhood doing odd jobs for everyone, and surely but slowly she adds to her funds for the trip. Things get a little difficult when Mrs. Naulty, a senior citizen who is showing signs of dementia, gives Lindy $200 instead of her customary $10. Lindy agonizes over what to do with this money as it would surely make a nice addition to her trip fund, and eventually Lindy keeps it. Fraught with guilt over this decision, Lindy begins secretly paying back Mrs. Naulty her money until one of Lindy’s classmates finds out and begins to blackmail Lindy into paying her half of Lindy’s weekly earnings. As things begin to spiral out of her control, Lindy must face her demons and decide whether she should continue on this destructive path or do what’s right and confess to taking the money, potentially sacrificing her trip to the Arctic.

     As part of the “Orca Currents” series, Bad Business is a fast-paced, high-interest read that is aimed at struggling readers. What is great about this book is its relevant subject matter to which many kids can relate. Lindy comes across as a natural character who experiences the same things everyone else does: the extreme excitement over a trip, the gut-wrenching guilt over taking advantage of someone and the fear and anxiety that come with being bullied. These experiences and emotions all occur quickly as the book is a short read, but that doesn’t make the emotions any less real for the reader. Usually these types of books are solely focussed on one subject matter, and, while this is still mainly the case, it was nice to see that other subjects could be introduced, such as the onset of dementia in a senior citizen, a topic that could be entirely new to some children. While the text does lack depth and only focuses on the character of Lindy and the rapid progression of the plot, Bad Business is is still a useful and interesting read when looking at its purpose in appealing to reluctant readers.

     The text is short in length and uses a larger size font making it less intimidating to pick up, and the language and vocabulary are accessible to readers who are either struggling or averse to reading. The plot progresses very quickly which, in turn, makes the book a gripping and fast-paced read that is sure to hold the attention of readers. Bad Business would be a great tool to help school-aged children develop their literacy skills and gain more confidence in their reading ability.


Stephanie Johnson is a graduate of the Master of Library and Information Studies Program from the University of Alberta.

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

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