Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BLOOD SPORT by Tash McAdam


by Tash McAdam

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4598-2436-2
Publisher: Orca

A teen takes on the fight to uncover the truth about the sudden death of his sister.

The police say that an overdose killed white, transgender boy Jason’s older sister, Becca, but Jason knows better. Two boxes of belongings are all Becca left behind, but among them Jason finds a mysterious photograph and more than two years of newspaper reports about missing girls from Downtown Eastside, the same neighborhood in Vancouver as Jason’s group foster home. His sister was all he had, his plan for the future. With nothing to lose and no one on his side, Jason immerses himself in a dangerous investigation to bring justice to Becca. This contemporary thriller offers suspense, intense sports competition, and a fast-paced plot leading to a resolution that emphasizes chosen family and inner-community support. The investigation sends Jason to a boxing gym, where he meets new friends who accept him without faltering when they learn he’s transgender, something Jason is used to keeping private for his safety. Unfortunately, the language choices are not always affirming. Jason’s close, third-person narration labels testosterone as “male hormones.” Additionally, the white protagonist uses African American Vernacular English in referring to Downtown Eastside as his “’hood.” While full of heat and high stakes, this plot-oriented adventure is not a knockout for inclusion.

A gripping mystery for reluctant readers that loses some appeal for invalidating language. (Mystery. 14-18)