"Will definitely ring bells with the hi-lo crowd...[Kyi's] books seem to hit their mark and are popular."
Canadian Book Review Annual
"This short novel features plenty of action and lively dialogue."
"Slim and easy to read, yet still convincing and deep, and offering a note of hopefulness...Highly recommended."
"Offer[s] some very realistic situations teens deal with every day and could be used to jump-start more than a few critical discussions. Highly recommended."
The Canadian-based Orca Soundings series fulfills the wishes of countless librarians and teachers by providing well-written, relevant stories geared toward lower level readers. These slender books are an easy sell with their colorful, teen-savvy covers and edgy titles. A broad range of topics and viewpoints allow readers plenty of choices for individual reading preferences, as demonstrated by four recent additions. My Time as Caz Hazard is the story of Caz, a teenage girl who finds herself transferred to a new school at the beginning of her junior year. She is also placed in a remedial reading class, where she is simultaneously embarrassed over her new "special-ed" designation and relieved to have help with her academic struggles. She finds herself changing under the stress of the new situation and problems at home and does not entirely like the person she is becoming. Dialogue is sharp, and the plot moves quickly, although as with many books in this series, character development is fairly breezy. There are eighteen previous books in the series. Most are suitable for middle school through high school readers. There are many reasons why teens find themselves uninterested in reading, but these books are great tools for luring them back. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Orca, 103p., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Punching out her so-called boyfriend for sleeping with another girl seemed like a good idea at the time, but Caz Hallard finds herself in a special-education class in a new school after being suspended from her old one. Tests indicate that she is dyslexic, which her super-perfect mother refuses to accept. Caz's disgrace exacerbates her parents' already rocky relationship, and she finds herself seesawing between them and frustrated by both. As her parents' marriage falls apart, Caz is drawn more and more to Amanda, a world-weary rebel. Trying to find a balance in a world gone awry, she tries to protect her brilliant younger brother from becoming their parents' pawn. She loses touch with Mel, a stabilizing influence in her chaotic life. Caz knows she cannot bring herself to tell her old friend of her new exploits with Amanda: shoplifting and teasing Dodie Dunstan, a particularly vulnerable classmate. After Dodie commits suicide, Caz finds herself shocked to her senses, but it isn't easy to face up to the wrongs she's committed. Kyi paints a situation common to our culture: adolescents struggling to find their identity with imperfect adult examples. Readers will easily identify with the opposing forces Caz faces as she tries to make sense of her life. A compelling contemporary story for low-skill/reluctant readers.-Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Dodie Dunstan died last night," she said.
Strangely, my first thought was that Dodie had a last name. Other than Doorknob, that is. Was that how you talked about a dead person? You used her full name?
Ms. Samuels' voice caught, but she continued. "The police don't suspect foul play."
"That means what?" I asked, confused.
"She offed herself. Suicide," Jaz said, turning his intense stare in my direction for the first time all morning. He pursed his lips, considering. "She seems like the pill type to me. She wouldn't want to see blood.