________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 41 . . . . June 22, 2018


Offbeat. (Orca Limelights).

Megan Clendenan.
Victoria, BC: Orca, August, 2018.
139 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1792-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1793-7 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1794-4 (epub).

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Saird Larocque.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



My fingers fly.
They buzz and dart like a swarm of bees on the neck of my fiddle.
I tap my toe to keep the beat, but I feel like jumping.

Rose is 14 and has found her passion in fiddling. The folk music she feels inside seems to come naturally, but her mother thinks otherwise. Just as the pieces are falling into place for Rose, her mother mutes her excitement with the boring drone of classical violin. If she doesn't take classical music seriously, Rose will no longer be able to take the expensive lessons she needs to grow as a musician. How can Rose prove to her mother that she is serious about her passion for the fiddle?

      Falling straight into the rhythm of this story made this an easy book to get into, and the steady pace made for a quick yet engaging read. Megan Clendenan has written a great addition to Orca's "Limelight" series, which provides relatable material for young readers who are also interested in the performing arts. The conflict between folk and classical music is something with which many violinists and other musicians struggle, and so it was great to see the issue being addressed in such an accessible way. The author's understanding of the joys and struggles of a young musician comes across very well in her clear writing. The experiences Clendenan captures in Offbeat give great insight into a subject that is not often shown in literature for young people.

      Offbeat, a fun and quick read, is a welcome addition to any collection.


Saird Larocque is a librarian and children's literature researcher from Saint John, NB.

To comment on this title or this review, contact cm@umanitoba.ca.

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