CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 9. . . .October 30, 2015
Thus begins the novel Catch You Later, Traitor, a clever, multilayered look at the “red scare” of 1950s America from the point of view of 12-year-old Pete Collison. Pete is an average American kid. His love of detective books and radio crime dramas spurs him to hone his own detection techniques, and he creates elaborate mystery-style scenarios from everyday moments. His family’s average apartment becomes an elaborate setting for a crime; his dull brother, a traitor; and his meek mother, full of secrets and surprises. Pete spends his days looking for mystery, but he is unprepared for the day a real mystery arrives at his doorstep, the day FBI agents appear and accuse Pete’s father of being a Communist.
Catch You Later, Traitor is a fast paced, engaging, and moving novel. The story blasts off from page one and maintains its pace until the end. The characters emerge as fully formed individuals and are realistic in their triumphs and tragedies. Pete, in particular, is a delight with his inner monologues, his excitement for sleuthing and his creative sense of humour. The family dynamics are portrayed movingly and cause readers to take a look at this event in history through a new lens.
The beloved children’s and young adult fiction author, Avi, has done it again - he has written yet another book that is sure to be a favourite among youth and adults. Children will love it for its story and characters, and caregivers and teachers will love it for its themes of family, democracy and freedom.
Tabitha Nordby is a Readers’ Advisory and Reference Instructor in the Library and Information Technology Program at Red River College in Winnipeg, MB.