Just Gone

William Kowalski. Orca/Raven (www.rapid-reads.com), $9.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-4598-0327-5
Worthy and positive, Kowalski’s fourth novel in the Rapid Reads series for reluctant readers (after Something Noble) makes up for a scant story with the weary but determined voice of its earnestly captured narrator and its hopeful message for exploited and abused inner-city youths. Mother Angelique, the manager of a downtown homeless shelter in an unnamed city, takes orphans Jamal and Chantay under her sternly loving care. Through Jamal, she learns the urban legend of Jacky Wacky, a supernatural figure who hands out food to children and retribution to those who would harm them. With a straightforward, rigidly linear narrative and an intentional lack of linguistic complexity (appropriate for adult literacy and ESL programs), much of the narrative is simple first-person exposition as Jamal and Chantay grow older and the unflaggingly generous Mother Angelique encounters more stories of Jacky Wacky and his white and black suitcases. While no surprises lie in wait as the book reaches its conclusion, the hopeful message of service and perseverance is well realized. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 129 pages - 978-1-4598-0328-2
Ebook - 978-1-4598-0329-9
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