Soames on the Range

Overview

My name, for the record, is San Francisco Soames. Named after the city. Paris is named after a city too. India got an entire country. These are places my parents travelled to when they were young and in love. Which they aren't anymore.

Fifteen—year—old Cisco Soames knows he doesn't come from a normal family. His parents are a couple of aging hippies, and his twin sister are juvenile delinquents in training.

When Cisco's father makes a ...

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Overview

My name, for the record, is San Francisco Soames. Named after the city. Paris is named after a city too. India got an entire country. These are places my parents travelled to when they were young and in love. Which they aren't anymore.

Fifteen—year—old Cisco Soames knows he doesn't come from a normal family. His parents are a couple of aging hippies, and his twin sister are juvenile delinquents in training.

When Cisco's father makes a family—shattering announcement, Cisco's life is the first thing that falls apart. He gets suspended from school for fighting. Then, in the weirdest turn of events yet for a person who'd rather smash garlic than noses. he's accused of putting old man Patterson in a coma. Now, to let things "cool down" a little, his parents have banished him to a Rocky Mountain dude ranch to live with his draft—dodging renegade uncle, known as "Uncle Party."

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—San Francisco Soames has never had a "normal" family. He and his siblings are named after places, his twin sisters are always getting into trouble, and his parents are former hippies. But things take a turn for the worse in their small Vermont town when his parents inform him that his father is gay. A homophobic bullying incident outside a pharmacy, in which the store's owner attempts to protect Cisco with a shotgun, turns ugly and the next thing Cisco knows, he's responsible for putting Mr. Patterson in a coma. In an attempt to give their son a fresh start, the boy's parents send him to his Uncle Vincent's ranch in middle-of-nowhere British Columbia, but Cisco's fate doesn't immediately improve upon landing on Canadian soil. He appreciates cooking and eating good food, but his uncle's moose stew is barely edible. Belgue excels at capturing the realities of small-town life. Likewise, details of the Canadian wilderness will make readers feel transported to the great white North. Unfortunately, the story suffers from uneven pacing and characters who never quite come to life. While Cisco's cooking aspirations could draw an audience, they are not a large enough part of the story and fail to carry it. Given the dearth of YA fiction featuring gay parents, this title is significant. However, the Canadian setting and other shortcomings make it a hard sell.—Jennifer Barnes, Gleason Public Library, Carlisle, MA
VOYA - E. Frank
Imagine finding out your father is divorcing your mother to move in with his boyfriend. Your "friends" find out before you do because your father is the guidance counselor in your school. Fifteen-year-old Cisco, named after San Francisco, is growing up in Lowell, Vermont, population 3,000, where everyone knows his name and everything else about him, which is not exactly easy when you want to blend in. Cisco's life goes from bad to worse as the neighborhood bullies use him as a scapegoat. It does nott help that he loves to cook and is terrible at sports. Eventually his mother decides that a change of venue might improve his situation, and off Cisco goes to western Canada. Life does get better, and the obstacles thrown in Cisco's way actually do make him stronger, but as he is going through the trauma of life, his vision is clouded by reality. This coming-of-age novel is genuine and tackles the issues of bullying, sexual stereotyping, and parent—child relationships. With a good push, this book could be the dose of bibliotherapy a shy teen needs to improve his self-image. Urban teens might not comprehend how narrow minded a small town can really be; however, the issues Cisco faces are real and pandemic to all types of cities, both large and small. At more than two hundred pages, the book could use more editing, and some teens may wish to skim over some of the detailed descriptions. Reviewer: E. Frank
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780002007689
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.45 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Belgue is the author of three books of middle-grade fiction, all published with Orca. Her first book, The Scream of the Hawk, was nominated for the Silver Birch Award and the Diamond Willow Award. Soames on the Range is her first novel for young adults. Originally submitted to a young adult novel contest sponsored by Delacorte in the US, it was one of four finalists. After graduating with a degree in English literature, Nancy spent much of her career working in publishing and advertising. She has appeared in television commercials and documentaries, including an award-winning documentary, Streetsmart. Nancy was a winner of a column-writing contest sponsored by the Toronto Sun, has had articles published in magazines in Canada and the United States and written short stories and poetry, as well as novels. She currently works part-time in a library in southwestern Ontario and as a literary/drama artist for Learning Through the Arts.

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