A teen connects with his grandfather on a remote island.
Fourteen-year-old Dylan has been sent to live with his maternal grandfather, Angus. Angus resides on a remote island, content to live quietly holed up in his tiny cabin and cut off from everyone else in the world. Dylan is disgruntled by the lack of 21st-century amenities on the small island, but he slowly comes around to the solitary lifestyle. When a young orca is beached upon the island’s rocky shoreline, Angus and Dylan must cement their bond by getting it back in the water. The novel gets right to the point, traversing its slim page count quickly and sketching a grandfather-grandson relationship with efficiency and ease. Angus and Dylan are both hurting, but they don’t jump right at each other’s throats in some form of manufactured drama. There’s a soft masculinity here, an old-school “gotta keep those feelings deep down inside” way of thinking that gives the book a steady and quiet pace. Those looking for screaming matches and flipped tables will be left disappointed, but there’s an effective maturity to the relationship built here that is the book’s big draw. Dylan and Angus both present white; one of the book’s few secondary characters is Sikh.
A short and simple but nevertheless effective tale of intergenerational understanding. (Fiction. 10-14)