Friday, March 6, 2015

LIterary Tourism - British Columbia

Since I'm Canadian by marriage and I came across a fun book set in Vancouver, I figured I would expand my literary reviews to the north.  It may be difficult to find books about every province and territory in libraries here in the States, but I'll see what I can do. 

I visited Vancouver about two years ago.  There was a lot going on and we didn't have a lot of time to explore the city, but I loved what I saw of it.  I'm a city girl so this isn't surprising.  This book helped add to my list of what to do on our inevitable next visit.

Word Nerd by Susin NIelsen

When bullies almost kill twelve year old Ambrose by slipping a peanut into his lunch, Ambrose's mom makes him begin correspondence courses.  Utterly lonely and bored, Ambrose becomes friends with Cosma, his neighbors' ex-convict son.  Behind his overprotective mother's back, Ambrose begins attending a Scrabble club and eventually enters the tournament.  Through Scrabble Cosmo and Ambrose bond and get into some trouble along the way.

The setting in this book was excellent.  The author really brings you to Jericho Beach, Granville Island, and Chinatown.  Ambrose and his mom rely on public transportation which feels real.  The Canadian phrases like the hydro poles, washrooms, and marking papers made it even better.  This book was a ten out of ten for fitting with my goals of the project.  Nothing was in there as a stereotype.  The details were naturally included.

As a word nerd myself, I enjoyed this book.  Ambrose was a perfectly developed twelve year old character.  He is big-hearted and smart, but also brutally honest, obnoxious and sometimes gross.  The story is more than a synopsis of scrabble games and really had some depth to it.  This is definitely a YA novel, not a children's novel.   

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