Arthur Slade is an award winning author. His honours include: Governor General's Award, Mr. Christie's Book Award, Saskatchewan Book Award, and Red Maple Honour Book. This book is both shocking and electrifying in its tale and the mastery in telling it.
Our hero is more than a little unusual for he is Newton Stalker. He is the second last surviving Stalker, for his whole family has been decimated by lightning strikes. Having recently lost his mother, he moves to the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw. It is a school far more entertaining than Hogwarts. The school's motto is: 'Survival Through Fierce Intelligence'. The board considered all factors in allowing Newton to attend and even upgraded all of the buildings' lightning rod protection.The cast of characters is zany and fun - from Newton's only surviving Stalker relative, his Great Grandmother Enid who is 102 and lives in a retirement home in Moose Jaw, to Newton's first friend Jacob Edward Clarke, an aspiring author, to his antagonist Violet Quon, a daughter of a Mountie with some pugilistic skills, to the unique headmaster, a giant of a man, who is always in a kilt and lumberjack shirt, Mr. McBain.
This book deals with issues like death and grieving. It also deals with the story of coming of age, and finding your place in the world. The book is like a cross between Edgar Allen Poe, Rudyard Kipling and C.S. Lewis. It is wonderfully-written, greatly entertaining and I could not put it down. Slade presents unique characters in unusual situations and does so in a way that draws the reader in and causes us to cheer for them as the story progresses. Arthur Slade is one of my favorite authors writing for youth today, I rank him up there with Kenneth Oppel, Patrick Carman and Laurie Halse Anderson. The only thing I regret is how short the book was, and how many things it leaves unanswered. I can only hope we see more books set at the Jerry Potts Academy, and we meet Newton Stalker again.
(First Published in Imprint 2009-03-13.)
Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)
John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)
Hunchback Assignments Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)
Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)
The Northern Frights Series
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)
The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)
Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Series:
Amber Fang: The Hunted
Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Viper - Short Story
Visual Bibliography for Arthur Slade
Author profile interview with Arthur Slade.