Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zebra Forest, by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

I was expecting a lot out of this book. I loved the cover (I know, I know...) and was super intrigued by the title. It's also the author's debut novel, which always piques my attention.

Zebra Forest is about two children, Annie and Rew - short for Andrew - who live with their mildly eccentric grandmother. They receive frequent visits from a social worker, and don't get to much pleasure out of going to school. They do love reading their grandmother's tattered copy of Treasure Island and playing in the "zebra forest" that's near their house. They don't really know what happened to either of their parents; all they know is that their mom left them and that their father is apparently dead. However, after a jailbreak at the local prison, an escaped convict takes shelter in their house and holds the family of three hostage. They learn new things about their past, and question what they've always thought to be true of their parents.

During the whole novel, I felt like I was waiting for something to happen. There were some big events - such as the convict entering the house - but none of it felt very climactic. I did like the idea of rethinking our views about family and lying, but I just don't see this as a book that would really grab my students. I'll have to see what they think come August!

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