I, Huckleberry

Marshall Cavendish. Feb. 2021. 248p. pap. $13.99. ISBN 9789814868969.
Gr 9 Up–Huck’s parents agree that their son needs a break from the stress in his life, though he doesn’t remember the events that caused his anxiety. They offer him the opportunity to leave New York and seek respite at a winter camp at Oxford University. There he meets quiet and observant Mei from Singapore, who hopes to figure out her life in the short span of weeks before the Christmas holiday, and Tshombe, a young Zambian whose goal is to overcome at least one of his many fears. Kat, the only seasoned student in the group, is willing to mentor the newbies. She leads the unsuspecting students on a wild adventure to learn the secrets hidden under the old clock tower. Chesterman uses action and vivid descriptions of the characters’ feelings to keep readers engaged. The novel starts methodically, laying the foundation for the eventual plot twist. The story picks up speed in the latter half of the book, launching the reader at full speed toward the unpredictable ending. Huck’s and Kat’s ethnicities aren’t described, and Mei reads more like a stereotype than a real person.
VERDICT This novel may appeal to fans of Chesterman’s “Raising Arcadia” trilogy.

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