Hardcover | 176 Pages
Reading age: Grades 5 – 8
In 1970 Vancouver, thirteen-year-old Charlotte and her best friend, Dawn, are keen to avoid the pitfalls of adolescence. Couldn’t they just skip teenhood altogether, along with its annoying behaviors – showing off just because you have a boyfriend, obsessing about marriage and a ring and matching dining-room furniture? Couldn’t one just learn about life from Jane Austen and spend the days eating breakfast at noon, watching “People in Conflict,” and thrift-store shopping for cool castoffs to tie-dye for the upcoming outdoor hippie music festival?
But life becomes more complicated when the girls meet a Texan draft dodger who comes to live with Charlotte’s Quaker family. Tom Ed expands Charlotte’s horizons as they discuss everything from war to civil disobedience to women’s liberation. Grappling with exhilarating and disturbing new ideas, faced with a censorship challenge to her beloved English teacher and trying to decode the charismatic draft dodger himself, Charlotte finds it harder and harder to stick to her unteen philosophy, and to see eye to eye with Dawn.
Where did this book come from?
Canadians love to compare themselves to Americans. For me this habit began early. There were relatives from mysterious places like Minnesota. There were books, Little House on the Prairie and Eloise. An hour’s drive south, “across the line,” and there were totally different chocolate bars. And then one day, when I was a young teenager, Chip appeared at our door, an American draft dodger. We didn’t have a draft to dodge in Canada. What was it all about? Dodger Boy isn’t Chip’s story but it is about the times he lived through.
What do readers think?
-Kirkus (a starred review)
Scintillating prose, rich dialogue, and charming characterizations . . . whip-smart historical.
I am just enamored of this book right now. A delight of a book.
-Elizabeth Bird. SLJ Blog