Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Dark Side

Publish October 28, 2016

With pressure coming from his immigrant parents who have sacrificed everything to give Emerson a better life, the last thing he needs is to lose the phone they bought him. Inflaming his father’s anger by missing an emergency room visit turns out to be the least of Emerson’s problems when he discovers that his phone has been stolen and his Facebook account hacked by the thieves with threats against his school’s administration. Caught between sleeplessness due to his parents’ high expectations, and the stress of being accused of something he didn’t do, Emerson begins to plan a more permanent solution to his problems. One of the new offerings from the Lorimer Sidestreets series, debut YA author John Choi’s Dark Side provides insight into being the child of parents where English is a second language. After his sister leaves for university, translation duties fall to Emerson, and this combined with the rigours of school, as well as the message he is not living up to his potential, leaves Emerson feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. Having set the stage, Choi then delves into teen suicide.  Emerson’s desire to end his life leads to an exploration of the internet’s role in providing practical advice, as well as its’ ability to connect people. Finding a friend in someone who is also considering suicide proves to be a lifeline for Emerson, and his story encourages readers to reach out when they are feeling suicidal or need someone to talk to. Backed by a fast moving, action-filled plot, Dark Side grips readers with its’ intensity, packing each page with relatable teen issues.