Record Breaker

Robin Stevenson. Orca, $9.95 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-554-69959-9
It’s 1963, the world is in turmoil, and so is the life of 12-year-old Jack in small-town Canada. Ever since the sudden death of his newborn sister nearly a year ago, Jack has been starved for attention; he hopes to snap his parents out of mourning and make them proud by breaking a world record. “A few weeks ago I tried to eat twenty-four raw eggs in less than two minutes and eleven seconds but threw up after the first seven,” he says. “Eggs, not minutes.” Jack’s resilience and sense of humor prove to be crucial assets as his father builds a fallout shelter, his depressed mother stays in bed, and President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald are assassinated. When Jack meets an independent-minded new girl named Kate, it improves his iffy friendship with his irritating cousin Allan, who feeds Jack’s fears that his family might be cursed. Stevenson (Hummingbird Heart) gives Jack a straightforward yet sensitive narrative voice, constructing a believable portrait of the anxiety of this moment in history, as well as of how scary and lonely childhood can be. Ages 9–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/21/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
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