Saturday, October 31, 2009


London Calling, by Edward Bloor, exemplifies what young adult literature ought to be (you heard me, chintzy vampire romance novels). It reminded me of Tangerine (also by Bloor) and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I don't want to share too much about London Calling's plot and risk giving too much away. Thirteen-year-old Martin hates the prep school where he's one of the few, looked-down-upon scholarship students. The story begins with an unfortunate event at school, a little background in Martin's weighty family history (and family problems), and chronicles Martin's summer vacation as he hides out in his basement, depressed.

And there's time travel. Of course. Because every book I read has time travel in it these days. In this novel, the time travel takes on a slightly more spiritual edge.

The histories and fates of multiple families are intertwined. The mystery is exciting, but even more notable are Bloor's convincing relationships among family members, particularly fathers and sons (and I'll add a special note of appreciation for Martin's wonderfully understanding big sister). Bloor also portrays faith with sensitivity and gravity: most of the characters follow a religious tradition, but many are going through the motions as they pray, searching for healing and understanding. I was moved seeing Martin find purpose, belief, self-confidence, and the love of others.

If I have one very small criticism, it's that a certain comeuppance scene goes a bit too far, both in feeling too unforgiving and too unrealistic, which I feel is out of step with the overall tone of the conclusion. However, I can see how a young reader would absolutely love this particular scene. I look forward to checking out more of Bloor's books.

1 comment:

Jackamo said...

I'll have to add that to my "to read" list. It sounds good, and your rec carries a lot of weight, you know.