Like a Hurricane

Orca. Feb. 2023. 128p. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781459835238.
Gr 3-7–This is a high concept story of one boy’s journey to self-discovery through his mental wrestling on the page. He is gay and terrified of rejection from his family, friends, and overall community, including his childhood friend with whom he may want something more. Here the words are simple, broken down and visually presented. But this novel immediately takes one’s breath away with its poetry and power. It’s also an art book; each page drips with bold font choices, emphasized line breaks, and incredible use of light and dark through shaded words and blacked out pages. For instance, the phrase, “Crying has always been a part of me,” is written vertically on the page, a torrent of tears falling. The sadness is there through the words but seeing it on the page adds a helpful dimension. Almost the entire story is couched in those layers, extended metaphors made explicit through the text presentation. It’s the kind of book readers can pore over. The more time spent with it, the better it gets.
VERDICT Definitive proof that a book doesn’t have to delve into the dark corners of the dictionary to be deeply affecting. An ideal tool to illustrate poetic elements or emphasize stories of sharing scary yet necessary truths.

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