FICTION

Blood Sport

Orca. (Orca Soundings). Jan. 2020. 128p. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781459824362.
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Gr 7 Up–Jason, a trans foster kid, already feels like the world is against him when his sister is murdered. In her belongings, he finds a hidden collection of evidence leading to a shady boxing gym where young women are disappearing. Is this why his sister was killed? Jason decides to pose as a rookie boxer to infiltrate the gym, but can he hide his true purpose there, as well as his trans identity? This book checks all the boxes of a hi-lo text. It has an exciting hook, a modern teen worldview, and is at a lower reading level. Although the length requirements for a book in the “Orca Soundings” series means that some plot points feel rushed, the book is a fun read. Jason’s trans identity is handled respectfully and realistically, which is expected from an #OwnVoices author like McAdam. Furthermore, this book is about a trans character but is not a coming out story, it is a murder mystery. This is both something the LGBT+ community has been asking for and will draw the interest of young people who would not usually pick up an LGBT+ book.
VERDICT A must-buy for libraries looking for diverse and compelling hi-lo books.

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