Book: Checked (2018)
Author: Cynthia Kadohata
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Basic Plot: Conor MacRae is really into hockey. Just like his dad. But then Conor’s dog Sinbad gets sick. So sick that he’s going to need chemotherapy, which will cost $7000. It will mean sacrificing some of his training, but Conor is determined to do whatever it takes to save his dog. But then there’s his dad…
1) I’m not really a hockey person, but I did enjoy that aspect of the story. I felt Kadohata dealt with all the hockey details in such a way that you don’t necessarily have to know the game.
2) I liked the bond between Conor and his dog Sinbad. I thought that was developed quite nicely. I really liked how responsible Conor was with regards to his dog.
3) Mr. Reynolds, the neighbour, was one of my favourite character. I almost felt he was under-utilized in the story. I loved all the interactions with Conor.
4) And then there are Conor’s friends: Jae-Won and Lucas especially. His hockey buddies.
5) And finally… Conor and his dad. What a great relationship! Conor’s dad is police officer, and I liked how that impacted the story.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) At times, I felt I was swimming in alphabet soup! Sometimes, Conor would bring up people that didn’t seem to really matter to the story. It was really hard to keep track of all the hockey kids and their parents. And the coaches. I wish she had combined some of these characters. Yes, I know that it’s probably more authentic to have all these people… but in a book? We need to be able to know who’s who.
2) I felt the plot slow at times. There is actually very little conflict in the story. Conor mentions his “frenemy” Ethan, but nothing ever really happens between the two. Actually, come to think of it, there’s a lot of telling (vs. showing) in this book!
3)At the beginning of the story, there’s this great fire evacuation scene. I somehow expected [SPOILER] that this story line would carry through the book. And especially affect the climax. It did not. Which made the beginning seem like it was… unnecessary.[END SPOILER]
My rating is 3.5 Stars (out of 5) – Conor’s voice made this book. And, overall, I did enjoy it. Probably will never be my favourite story. I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy reading about sports.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…