The Way

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The Way

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up Cody LeBeau would like to see himself as a powerful ninja rather than a wimpy Abenaki teenager. He fantasizes about overpowering the bullies at his new high school, something he is unable to do outside his daydreams. The teen is hopeful that his dreams will be realized when his mysterious Uncle John appears to compete in a martial-arts event. Instead, he teaches his nephew...The Way. Though not what he expected, Cody begins to feel differently about himself, learning to deflect rather than engage the bullies. When some of his fellow "losers" decide to seek revenge in a Columbine-like massacre, Cody steps in to thwart their plans, not as a ninja hero, but as a whistle-blower. This story may appeal to fans of tae kwon do or karate. However, Bruchac's prose is heavy-handed, giving Cody unrealistic thoughts like "Fists of impotent fury clenched at my sides..." in the heat of the moment. Likewise, the boy's "loser" attitude is overplayed; there's more told than shown. The author seems more comfortable developing Uncle John's character but, unfortunately, the man comes across as didactic rather than wise. The Native American details that flavor most of Bruchac's other works appear stereotypical in this setting. The climactic Columbine subplot seems contrived; students will chafe under this artificial presentation of themselves.-H. H. Henderson, Heritage Middle School, Deltona, FL

Kirkus Reviews
Daydreaming Cody LeBeau from the Abenaki tribe naively imagines he needs ninja moves to be a hero, confident and popular. This disconnect is momentary, as bullies in his new junior high school push him around all day. Initially, he's an unconvincing character whose old-fashioned vocabulary and adult point of view don't fit a teen in the 21st century; many of his thoughts sound like a mother's. The first four chapters meander through Cody's nightmarish new school experience, until Uncle John appears and exemplifies a hero's path. Uncle, in town to fight in a prestigious competition, teaches Cody "The Way," a Native-American tradition of integrity and strength that empowers the mind and body. The slow start gets some impetus and then moves into high gear when Cody's new spiritual insight helps him to maintain his internal and physical balance and compels him humbly, yet with all his heart and strength, to diffuse a mass killing. This feat is what he imagines in the beginning, minus the foot-kicking and fist-punching. This subject needs a modern edge that is lacking in text that uses the "fresh as the proverbial daisy" metaphor and other cliched phrasing. Not one of Bruchac's better efforts. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781467708623
  • Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/28/2013
  • Pages: 156
  • Sales rank: 1,513,804
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac was born in Saratoga Springs, New York, and grew up in the Adirondack foothills. He began to take an interest in his Abenaki heritage when he was a teenager. Mr. Bruchac has written many books, poems, plays, and short stories—most of which include tales, characters, and teachings from his Native American roots. Performing as a storyteller allows him another way to preserve his Abenaki culture.

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