Monday, October 8, 2007
Quad by C.B. Watson
While I was at the American Library Assoication Conference in Seattle,
I picked up a few titles that looked interesting. One that I just finished was Quad which will be out in May 07 by Razorbill; part of the Penguin group. The author is C.B. Watson, a high school teacher and newbie. The author’s familiarity with the age group has served the author well. While the dialogue in this disturbing YA title sounds like it came directly from the halls of your local high school and the cluster of teens gather with Slurpees and skateboards outside your local 7-Eleven, the author’s approach is subtle and insightful. The narrative starts with the central issue of a high school shooter. What I liked so much about this book was the way in which the author doesn’t centre on the shooting, but on what led up to it. This is done through short chapters told from various points of view: “FREAKS, JOCKS, PREPS, DRAMA QUEENS, CHOIR BOYS, and TECHIES”. Each chapter offers a slice of the cruelties of high school life and insight into the reason why some kids snap. By letting us see that each group has kids who are vulnerable, Watson not only keeps the suspense high, but pushes us to examine what might be going on under the surface of our own schools and with our children. This is a disturbing and powerful novel, but one that teens, educators and parents will benefit from reading. C. G. Watson is definitely an author to watch out for. I'll post a cover as soon as it's available on the publisher's sight.