Nolichuck! TJ’s Wild Frontier Adventure
As a result of a bitter divorce, 14-year-old TJ lives alone with his father. He is experiencing boring studies, indifferent teachers, failing grades, mean girls, miserable bullies, and has failed in team tryouts. Citing the cost, his father even limits communication with his sister, who was his confidante. Life is desolate, until he happens upon a book that has unusual powers, and his adventures in 1802 Tennessee begin.
Keene has provided an excellent premise upon which to build a series of plots, and his first selection is good and well-written. It provides the elements TJ’s story requires while setting forth a history lesson for today’s youth whose knowledge (historical and otherwise) is allegedly lacking. This is connected to the book’s only real negative: parts of the presentation of the historical sections may be a bit pedantic for young readers, and some of the dialogue may strike them as stilted. For my sake, however, one caveat of my own: I only occasionally read young adults books for review.