Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Timber Creek Station, by Ali Lewis

Timber Creek Station

Set on a cattle station in the Australian outback, Timber Creek Station is the story of a grieving family, entrenched racism, and the surprising ways the world and one boy can change.

I almost hesitate to put this in our collection, because I really, really liked it. Unfortunately, I am not sure it sill circulate here, which will cause be to go into a rant about readers who don't know what's good for them when it comes up on the weed list in a couple years.

I'm forward-thinking like that.

Okay, here are the negatives that may keep some readers away: 
1) The Australian Outback is not exactly en vogue right now, and the protagonist is a young boy. Not something my teens come in looking for.
2) The cover is really cool, but at first glance you think "horror story" - which means teens will pick it up expecting that, read the description, and put it back disappointed.
3) True to its setting, there is a great deal of vernacular that some teens may find distracting. The context makes it fairly easy to understand, but it's not the 'easy read' some may be looking for.

The positives:
1) The idea of racism, even deeply entrenched racism, being overcome through relationships and experience is about as timely as you can get.
2) The writing is superb. I have never been a 13-year-old boy, much less one living on a cattle station with a dead brother and a pregnant sister, but I felt everything right along with Danny. Liz was never completely 3-dimensional to me, but she served quite well as a catalyst. I liked that there was so much going on with the family. In many books, one tragic event is enough to make up the story and shape everyone's behavior, and nothing else happens that needs to be dealt with. That's not the way life is, though.
3) Your patrons who are NOT looking for a light read, those who like to think a bit, and sink into a book, and discuss their thoughts about it with you afterward, will fall in love with this one.
4) Did I mention the camel? He gets to raise a camel. I want a pet camel.

Verdict? Add it, read it yourself, then hand sell it to those patrons, male or female (definite crossover), who fit #3 above and make them promise to come and tell you what they thought.

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