14 October 2012
Review: Also Known as Rowan Pohi
Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Now for a surprisingly fun one! This is, in a sense, the story of George P. Burdell for a YA audience, but it ends up being a story that's a lot more fun than it should be; telling a story about identity, accepting oneself for who you are, and more.
Rowan Pohi is the name of a kid who wants to go to an elite prep school. The issue is that the kid doesn't exist - Bobby and his friends made him up completely, and submitted his application. It then turns out that Rowan gets into the prestigious academy, and Bobby decides to go behind the backs of his friends and enroll at Whitestone as Rowan. It gives him a new lease on life, but also requires a lot of lying and finagling to make work.
The book is short, paced perfectly. It's funny (from silly stuff like the friend named "Big Poobs" to the antics Bobby gets into in an attempt to keep his double life), and a lot comes about that ends up being both instructive and inspirational. For a small book, it packs a pretty hefty punch, and it's hard not to be smiling through most of it.
It's certainly not inspiring or empowering the way a Stargirl might be, but it's a book that has a lot of heart and a lot going for it without trying too hard and without relying on after school special tropes, which is ultimately a rare quality these days. It's a quick and fun read that people might walk away with a little something extra at the end of the day. Highly recommended.
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