I have to confess – I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy this book. After all, it doesn’t have fairies, wizards, or dragons – none of the things I normally enjoy in a book. But I’d agreed to review it, so I started reading. And kept on reading right through to the end. What I discovered was an exciting, compelling story with depth and meaning.
The publisher describes this book as being about three children trying to save their small town’s newspaper, which it is, but it’s also much more than that. It’s about the responsibility of ordinary citizens to stand up for what they believe in, and the need for communities to protect their citizens. It’s about the rights and responsibilities of the free press in a democratic society. It’s also about ordinary kids coming of age and finding themselves.
And that’s really what makes this book so compelling – the ordinary kids. These aren’t superhuman, Nancy Drew types who can do no wrong. They make mistakes, they get tongue tied, and they don’t always make the right choices. But they do the best they can with what they have, they stand up for what they believe in, and in the process, learn a little bit about themselves.
There are subplots about the tensions and misunderstandings between adolescents and their parents, about child and animal abuse, and about the difficulties faced by small town businesses. The author weaves the various threads together with skill. The book is very well written (although there are a couple of typos).
Saviors of the Bugle would be an excellent addition to a middle-grade civics class or unit.
Wands and Worlds Small Press Month Blogfest