The Things Owen Wrote

By Jessica Scott Kerrin
Groundwood Books
Ages 8 to 12

Life has always gone pretty easily for Owen. He’s a good student, friendly, and well liked, supported by his loyal family. But then he makes a mistake that, if uncorrected, could cost him his family’s respect. As the plot twists, he makes a last-minute (and surprisingly convenient) trip to Iceland with his grandfather, where he just might get the chance to save himself. Generally buoyant, hopeful, and well paced, the book’s only weakness is the occasional slip into dialogue that sounds more like narration than actual conversation. (One early scene with Owen and his grandfather discussing Icelandic poets is the most egregious example; it sounds like it’s adapted from a Wikipedia article on “Icelandic poets in Canada”). But those (infrequent) lapses aside, this is a solid pick. Owen is a likeable character kids will find relatable. The writing is otherwise solid, challenging but not too hard; a good choice for readers just graduating to chapter books.

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