Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: At Ease

Publish January 28, 2016

Will Neises loves to play the violin more than anything else in the world. At fifteen, he has played for his teacher and his parents, but never really given much thought to performing publicly. When Will earns a spot at the university’s prestigious two week music camp, he feels bewildered and overwhelmed by older students with many years of performing experience. Will is desperate to win a coveted audience with his hero, violinist James Ehnes, and an audition for a spot at Julliard. But much to his dismay, Will is plagued by a crippling case of stage fright. As the two weeks draw to a close, Will realizes that playing the violin is more than just a hobby— it’s his calling—but his dreams may be shattered if he can’t overcome his fears.  In Jeff Ross’ At Ease, Will’s final performance is at once the most wonderful and terrifying thing he will ever do—because it matters. A hi-lo novel for reluctant readers, At Ease is the latest in the Orca Limelights series showcasing the performing arts. Ross’ plot unfolds quickly and seamlessly, largely due to his deft use of familiar archetypes: the class clown, the mean girl, the elderly tutor and the undiscovered prodigy. Readers will recognize these characters without needing tedious backstory, allowing the story’s action to begin immediately. Musical terminology adds a bit of challenge to the text, but the highlights are described in layman’s terms. A refreshing take on the teen social scene, At Ease is an uplifting story about dreams and fears to which every reader will relate.

At Ease

Jeff Ross
Orca Book Publishers
ISBN 13: 978-1-4598-0800-3