CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 15. . . .December 16, 2017
The YA novel Dead to Me, by Cristy Watson, is a quick read. The protagonist, 16-year-old Logan Gomez, first enters the story at the age of 12 in the novel's prologue. Here, a young Logan celebrates his 12th birthday with his first beer, offered to him by his uncle. Also in the prologue, Logan learns that this same uncle was responsible for the death of Logan's father years before. Jumping to the first chapter, Logan, now age 16, gets suspended from school for fighting. The reader also learns that Logan is still angry about his uncle's alleged involvement in Logan's dad's death, and that Logan drinks as a way to cope with this anger. Subsequent chapters include Logan skipping class, making out with a pretty girl, breaking and entering, finding a dead body. Logan comes across as the typical 'bad boy', including having "dangerous good looks" (p. 27) and attitude to match.
The character of Logan does turn out to be dynamic, although his change comes quickly (and somewhat unbelievably to experienced readers, maybe less so to reluctant readers). He is a character that teens will relate to as he engages in activities that would interest them, has a girlfriend, toes the line with his behaviour (but is still loyal and helpful to his mom), and redeems himself in the end. Logan is also described as being "half Mexican" (p. 12), and the text includes a few Spanish words or phrases (in italics, to indicate that they are words in a foreign language) that might also interest teen readers.
Dead To Me is clearly intended for reluctant readers as the novel is fast-paced, time progresses quickly in the story, and the chapters are fairly short. Each chapter is titled, and most chapters begin after some time has passed since the previous chapter (whether that is a day or a few weeks).
Overall, Dead To Me is one that reluctant tween or teen readers will be able to read with interest and with ease.
Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.
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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.