GAFF by Shan Correa


Age Range: 9 - 13


Although not as tightly crafted as Graham Salisbury’s stories, Correa’s debut evokes the lush mélange of sights, sounds and smells in 13-year-old Paulie’s multicultural neighborhood in Hawaii. Two years after a lumberyard accident forced his father out of work and into raising roosters for illegal cockfights, the teen accepts it as part of the island’s customs until he witnesses firsthand the bloody, gruesome effects of the razor-sharp gaffs fastened to the birds. Paulie immediately promises to find his father a real job, not realizing that he must choose between helping the roosters he reveres and leaving his home forever. The decision could also tear apart his friendship with classmate Sal, whose family has a cockfighting history, and ruin any romantic possibilities with Honey. Also woven into this ethical debate, rooted in economics and traditions, is Hawaiian pidgin English, which may challenge even experienced readers. While the ending is too tidy, the book will open children’s eyes and give them a reason to cheer. A fascinating look at the United States most mainlanders have never seen. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-56145-526-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Peachtree
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2010


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