In a heartwarming if sometimes clunky dog story, a traumatized teen regains his confidence after a dog attack.
When Aaron was 9, a Dalmatian attack left him with both physical scars and an enduring fear of dogs. Seven years later, Aaron signs up to volunteer at an animal shelter in hopes of overcoming his fear. There, he meets a new friend, Finn, and an abused pit bull to whom he becomes attached. There is nothing subtle in the connection made here between Aaron and the dog he names Chance (in Finn’s words, “You’re both afraid of other dogs. Some people have hurt you...and you both carry the physical and emotional scars from your ordeals”), but their relationship is heartfelt nonetheless. Most refreshing about the book is that Aaron is gay and came out to his parents at age 12 or 13. His sexual orientation matters as he navigates friendships and family relationships, but it
is not the core issue here. The book aims to educate readers about the merits of pit bulls and the workings of animal shelters, and readers who don’t mind somewhat clumsy infodumps will come away having learned something about both animals and people.
Like Chance himself: a bit rough but ultimately lovable. (Fiction. 12-16)