________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 5 . . . . October 6, 2017


Plunge. (Orca Sports).

Eric Howling.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2017.
145 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1419-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1420-2 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1421-9 (epub).

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.

Review by Elaine Fuhr.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



All Cade could see was blackness. All he could hear were the screams from his family.

The car hit the water with a thunderous jolt. Cade lurched forward but the hood began to disappear into the murky, black water.

Cade looked down. Water was already bursting through the floor of the car.

"We have to get out!"

"I'm stuck!" his mom shouted.

"Unbuckle your seat belt," Cade said. He tried to remain calm. He breathed deeply like it was the end of a grueling race.

"My window won't open!" Trent shouted, flicking the electric switch.

"The battery's dead," his dad said. "There's no power."

His mom pushed against the side of the door. "My door is jammed!"

"There's too much water pressure from the river!" his dad yelled. We'll have to break a window!"

The water was rising. Swirling black liquid was now up to Cade's waist. It was cold.

Cade has tried with all his might to make his dad proud of him. His big brother, Trent, is a star football player and that fact is all his dad can think or talk about. And, though Cade is an excellent competitive swimmer, according to Cade's dad, swimming is hardly an athletic sport. What's worse, Cade has tried to be a winner, but as hard as he trains, he can't beat Gavin. Now he has missed the chance to swim for Team Alberta in the Summer Games.

      An angry bike ride home puts Cade on a collision course with a gentleman about the age of his grandfather, another biker, Mr. Grimsby. After many apologies, Cade notices that Mr. Grimsby is very fit, and his bike is very different than his own, much lighter built with narrow street tires. After more chatting, Mr. Grimsby reveals that he is a triathlete and participates in the Ironman, a very big triathlon. Mr. Grimsby must swim, bike ride and run in this sport, all in one race and with one event following right after the other. There are no breaks if you want a chance to win. After much consideration, Cade begins to train with Mr. Grimsby and hopes that his dad will finally see him as an athlete. Unfortunately, his dad does not see it that way until one fateful trip to Trent's football game out of town puts the whole family in jeopardy and Cade's training for the triathlon gives him the strength and stamina to save their lives.

      This very entertaining story focuses on many facets of a young person's life. The support and respect from parents is paramount in a teen's daily life, and, like Cade, the search for that is sometimes unsuccessful. It is important for youth to realize that parents were their age once, and often there is a reason for their behaviour. Cade finds out that communication with his parents is so very important to build the kind of relationship his wants, especially with his dad.

      As the aunt of an extremely successful female Ironman athlete, I am a true fan of the triathlon and have watched many children and youth partake in this extreme sport. It takes motivation, very hard work, support of family and friends and a knowledge of the body and how training affects it, from nutrition through tried and true training procedures. I get so excited when I see young people take part in this sport and wish every child could try it out. I hope that Eric Howling's Plunge encourages many to find an organization or an athlete willing to introduce the triathlon to them.

Highly Recommended.

Elaine Fuhr is a retired elementary and middle school teacher.

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