Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: Trolled (Sports Stories series)
Publish November 25, 2016
Steven Sandor’s latest novel, Trolled, is an intense, fast-paced story about the less attractive aspects of jock culture and how they can play out on social media. Ranked first in Ontario for the 100-metre freestyle, swimmer Andy Kovacs is willing to sacrifice almost anything to qualify for a chance to compete at nationals, even though his parents are not sure if they will be able to afford to send him. When a teammate’s video of Andy surfing on a flutterboard becomes popular online, Andy decides to take advantage of his newfound fame to crowdfund the cost of a plane ticket to Edmonton. However, after Andy is filmed playing an inappropriate prank on one of the country’s star female swimmers, he is suddenly famous for all the wrong reasons and must figure out how make things right, while coping with being the target of public scorn. Like other books in Lorimer’s hi-lo Sports Stories series, Trolled uses sports as a framework to tackle issues affecting young people. The bullying, hazing, and trash talking in which Andy engages are not behaviours unique to swimming, and Sandor lets his main character’s actions show how easy it is for teenage athletes to forget that winning is not the only thing that matters. The novel’s brief prologue helps readers understand how much determination and attention to detail are required of competitive swimmers and creates some empathy for Andy, despite his preoccupation with life in the pool. Written in clear, simple sentences with an emphasis on plot development, Trolled is a timely reminder that it is never acceptable to mock or belittle others, online or in real life.
James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
ISBN 13: 978-1-4594-1142-0
Roseanne Gauthier is the Youth Services Librarian for the PEI Public Library Service. She has worked in the Faculties of Education at both the University of Prince Edward Island and Mount Saint Vincent University and spent two amazing years as the Children’s Librarian at the Confederation Centre Public Library. She holds an MLIS from Dalhousie University, and an MA from the University of Waterloo. Roseanne lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island with her husband, their adorable daughter, and two tuxedo cats.
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