Children's Literature - Monserrat Urena
Jim McClosky is a Sewer Rat, but he's not the only one. Mickey Downs, Lisa Chambers, and the Cooper twins are Sewer Rats, too. Together they fight other rival gangs. They have tunnel wars and paintball wars in the sewers. Despite this tough exterior Jim still gets a scared feeling in his stomach. Whenever that happens he turns to his brave alter ego, Zantor, soldier of the galaxy. When Carter Saylor, the new kid, is seriously injured during a paintball war the Sewer Rats find themselves in trouble. What bothers Jim the most, however, is that Lisa might have had something to do with Carter's accident. When confronted she runs away and hides in the sewers. But it's raining heavily. Jim knows that the water levels can rise quickly in the sewers and that tunnels can collapse under pressure. But he can't leave Lisa behind. This time Jim has to face his fears head-on because Zantor can't save Lisa. But Jim McClosky can. Brouwer's characters draw you in, and the reader will wish to know more about them and their lives. Unfortunately, the brevity of the text cannot contain the wealth of information concerning the other members of the Sewer Rats. I wanted to know more about Lisa's family and her violent reaction against Carter Saylor. I wanted to know more about Carter and where he came from. In comparison, Jim was simply not as compelling a character. This book is the literary equivalent of a flash flood. It was too much, too fast, and over as quickly as it came. Wave after wave of information hits the reader and leaves him or her disoriented. This book would have been far more effective if it had simply been longer and allowed the reader to delve deeper into the lives of the other Sewer Rats.
This short, fast-paced novel follows a team of high school misfits, the Sewer Rats, who are the champions of the underground paintballers. They are undefeated in battles fought in the sewer tunnels beneath the city. The book is narrated by the smallest Rat, Jimmy, who is terrified of small dark spaces, but uses an alter ego, the heroic Zantor, to help him through. The story line of this novel in the Orca Soundings series focuses on the addition of a new Rat to the team and the problems that result. The plot is predictable, but the book is nevertheless a fun read. Jimmy is the most thoroughly fleshed-out character, but the other Rats are less well developed, although each has his or her own stereotype-defying quirk. With pages of well-spaced print, this brief book should be an easy booktalk to reluctant readers. Those who are already voracious readers may be left wanting more, however. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Orca, 106p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In Sewer Rats, Jim and his friends are part of a league of paintballers who play in the town's sewers. When a member of their team sabotages a match, her mates try to confront her. She runs into the tunnels when a rainstorm hits, and they must find her before the water rises. Suspense builds as Jim tries to overcome his fear in the drainpipes. In Chat Room, Linda, a quiet underclassman, strikes up conversations with a mysterious Cyrano in her school's new monitored chat room, only to find that her visions of the real Cyrano are far from the truth. Butcher hammers home warnings about online predators, and the chat dialogue is less than authentic with its complete sentences and absence of lingo. Real chatters will see past the fa ade, but the topic will generate some interest. With short chapters and written in an easy style, both books will appeal to reluctant readers. Adequate choices for heavily circulating paperback collections.-Delia Carruthers, Sunset Ridge Middle School, West Jordan, UT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Entertaining and educational...sure to captivate reluctant readers...Highly Recommended"
Washington State Revew Group
"A good choice for reluctant readers in grades 7–10."
Canadian Book Review Annual
"Brouwer has created a story with sufficient character and plot development to hold the interest of reluctant male readers. Recommended."
Read an Excerpt
"The teachers can't do nothing to us," Lisa told him, crossing her arms. The paintball wars aren't on school property.
"But—," Micky tried. It was like trying to stop a hurricane.
"Do you think I care what the teachers think?" Lisa asked. "They think we band together because no one else likes us. And we're proud to agree with them, aren't we?"
Micky shrugged. When people called us losers, it just made our group stronger.
"It's the Medford gang I care about," Lisa continued. "The Sewer Rats have never lost a paintball war and we're not going to chicken out now.