July 9, 2014

Yo-yoing might change your life

The Yo-Yo Prophet
by Karen Krossing

Calvin Layne is the shortest boy in his class, which makes him a target of Rozelle's gang. He's also struggling with a grandmother who is often mentally confused. The only time he feels in control is when he's yo-yoing. When he tries his hand at street performing, Rozelle insists on being his manager and taking a cut of his earnings. She comes up with the idea of calling him the yo-yo prophet and getting him to predict future events. The resulting attention soon goes to Calvin's head, making him cocky and over-confident. His predictable fall forces him to reevaluate his priorities.

Rozelle is an interesting character: a bully with a heart of gold. It's not clear why she would want to hang out with a wimp like Calvin, who's too scared to utter more than a squeak. As the yo-yo prophet, he's a rude, unlikeable, bad tempered jerk whose unsympathetic behaviour will turn off many readers. He treats his grandmother harshly and turns on Rozelle, not taking into account everything that she's done for him until she points it out. She may be overly aggressive, but she did get Calvin to stand up for himself and act with confidence. Calvin eventually turns things around for the better. The ending, when it comes, is a good one.

A flawed, yet ultimately satisfying novel.

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