Rodent

Author: Lawrence, Lisa
Pub. Date: 2016
Pages: 288
List Price: 14.95
Suggested Grades: 9 to 12
FICTION – (Included in the Secondary Package – paperback)

“Just when Isabelle thinks her life can’t get any worse, something happens to her at school that makes her wonder how she can continue to look after her younger siblings, Evan and Maisie, work at the local mini-mart and deal with her alcoholic mother. It’s more than any sixteen-year-old should have to bear, but Isabelle can’t think of a way out that won’t hurt her brother and sister.

When Isabelle punches a girl at school, only one teacher sees past Isabelle’s aggressive behavior. Challenged to participate in a group writing project, Isabelle tentatively connects with a boy named Will and discovers an interest in (and talent for) the only kind of drama she can control-the kind that happens on the page.”

Reviewed by Sagan Morrow. CM: Canadian Review of Materials, February, 2016 Highly Recommended “This story is artfully written to help readers learn about complex issues that they may not have experience with or knowledge of. By presenting issues of poverty and bullying through the eyes of Isabelle, readers are able to learn about serious issues present in today’s society throughout this captivating story. Later on in the novel, readers learn why Isabelle’s mother turned to alcohol-something that is often, unfortunately and unfairly, not considered or taken into account in our society when children are involved. In this way, although Isabelle has a complicated relationship with her mother, her mother is not vilified; instead, she is seen as another character who needs a strong support system to help her to get better.

“Rodent is Lisa J. Lawrence’s first novel, and she has done a commendable job of weaving complex themes into a compelling story that high school students of all backgrounds will be able to relate to and enjoy.”

Kirkus Starred Review“Hard realism with a heart.”