________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 4. . . September 29, 2017


Show Mode. (Orca Limelights).

Raquel Rivera.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2017.
135 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1204-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1205-5 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1206-2 (epub).

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Mary Harelkin Bishop.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


And itís not helping that all the other Coffee Hut customers are staring as they pass my table. I know I look like a doof. Here I am at a big table, just me and four large iced mocha lattes with extra whipped cream. I look like I have imaginary friends. Or worse, that these fluffy drinks of sweet deliciousness are my friends.

Itís not my fault the others are late. I sip the drink in front of me. I am beginning to wonder if this was such a good idea after all. With my used up Coffee Hut card, I tap out a beat against the table. Buying a round of special coffees seemed like a great way to get everyone in a team spirit again. I was trying for positivity and good leadership, but right now it feels more like a bribe. A bribe that no one seems to want.

I almost donít recognize myself. For the past while, the ways my insides have been feeling and the way Iíve been acting Ė it hasnít been matching up. Iíve been trying to be chill, like Seth says. Iíve been pretending I think the act is good enough when I know it can be better.

How come Sandra gets to vent her usual snarkiness while Iím killing myself to smooth everything over?

Because auditions are tomorrow, thatís why. Because my dream is to be in Fashion Show.


High school student Adina, has been dreaming about performing in the schoolís yearly fashion show for years. Itís almost all she has thought about, and now is her chance. She and her friends create a dance routine and have been rehearsing, but Adina can tell that they arenít taking it seriously. Adina quickly becomes a task master, trying to cajole her friends into practicing more and trying harder. When that doesnít work, she finds herself criticizing them. Her friends respond by distancing themselves from her. Adina begins to wonder if she will ever be able to realize her dream of being in the Fashion Show. As Adina deals with the looming deadline for auditions and what she considers her friendsí lackadaisical attitude toward their routine, her frustration grows. Incidents of hurt feelings occur, and Adina finds herself pitted against her friends. Things come to a crisis point when one of her friends storms off leaving the dance group, and it looks like performing in the Fashion Show will not be possible. Adina begins questioning her own motives and methods of dealing with a difficult situation and realizes she has a lot to learn when dealing with people.

     It was refreshing to read a book which pushes the boundaries of the dominant culture in so many ways, first, with the main character, Adina, then with Seth, a boy who not only dances but also creates and sews all the costumes for their dance routine. The main character, Adina, is a young woman of South Asian descent. There are glimpses of Adinaís culture throughout the book via the foods she eats, the music she and her brother listen to, and to some background information about her family. I longed to know more about Adinaís culture and wished to have it figure a little more prominently in the story, especially at the beginning.

     Show Mode is another title in the ďOrca LimelightsĒ series. The series contains stories with performance themes, and they are written with simplified at level vocabulary but with enough action and drama to keep the story interesting. Show Mode fits this series and is a good read with strong and interesting characters who learn and grow from their mistakes. The quick moving plot keeps the story interesting and gives the reader a realistic glimpse into the world of performing.


Mary Harelkin Bishop is the author of the ďTunnels of Moose Jaw AdventureĒ series published by Coteau Books. She has also published a biography about Canadian Paralympic Champion Colette Bourgonje, entitled Moving Forward and a picture book version called Gina's Wheels. Her latest book, Mistasiniy: Buffalo Rubbing Stone (2016) deals with the relationship between a Cree boy and a boy of European descent as they get to know one another and realize the land is important to both of them. Currently she is an Instructional Consultant for Saskatoon Public Schools.

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

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