Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Blues for Zoey

Publish April 10, 2014

“You can’t con an honest man.” Kaz works part-time at the Sit’N’Spin laundromat, and although he is only one year away from graduating high school, he’s not saving for college. Kaz doesn’t tell people that his mother has somnitis, which causes her to fall asleep unexpectedly for days at a time. Now, he’s just a few months away from earning the $12 000 he needs to buy her admission to an exclusive sleep clinic. Then one day, Zoey Zamani blows into the neighbourhood, playing her “rood rattler” and turning Kaz’s world upside down. Kaz is immediately taken with Zoey and her many small rebellions: her dreadlocks, her homemade instrument, and her pink leopard-print bra, among them. Like the music she creates, Zoey is weirdly beautiful, and Kaz is drawn to her. But Kaz is not the only one who keeps secrets. Through Zoey’s eyes, he begins to see his neighbourhood anew, and soon realizes that not everything is as it appears – least of all, Zoey. Award-winning children’s author, Robert Paul Weston, returns with Blues for Zoey, a poignant and somewhat eccentric coming-of-age novel whose lighthearted tone belies the difficult subject matter at its core. Like a skilled magician, Weston performs a quick sleight of hand using strategic plotting and offbeat humour to construct a puzzle that culminates in a tragic, yet oddly hopeful denouement. While readers may predict the hitch in the story before Kaz, they will still marvel at the sheer complexity of Weston’s con and the ease with which it unfolds. Blues for Zoey is more than mere gimmick, however – it tells the age old story of growing up: finding love, losing love, and learning that answers cannot always be bought with money from the Sit’N’Spin. weston_bluesforzoey_pbBlues for Zoey Robert Paul Weston 978-0-14-318328-0 Penguin Books Jan. 2014. 278 pp. Ages 13 and up.           Karen Doerksen Karen Doerksen lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta with her husband and four children. She works for the Edmonton Public Library, and holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta. Logo-NoType The National Reading Campaign publishes children’s book reviews  under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.