Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Seventh Level

Jody Feldman

Travis Raines is 12 years old and in middle school. His greatest desire is to be able to join The Legend. It is, however, very secret, by invitation only, and no one ever, ever talks about it. Then one day, a shiny blue envelope mysteriously shows up in his locker. One of the requirements of The Legend is staying out of trouble. It is too bad for Travis that he keeps getting into trouble. That first letter from The Legend somehow goes flying out the second story window. To retrieve it, Travis makes a daring rescue from the roof, where he meets Assistant Principal Mrs. Pinchon when he comes back up. She is in charge of discipline, but for some reason she decides to take it easier on Travis. She also keeps telling him, “Things aren’t always as they appear, remember that.” Shiny blue envelopes continue appear in his locker, and soon he finds other blue envelopes addressed to him in another locker. Some messages could get him into trouble, and others remind him to stay out of trouble. What’s a 12 year old to do when he can’t talk with anyone about any of the messages – they are supposed to be secret! Travis has a dilemma on his hands. He has to follow the directions in the blue envelopes, but are they really from The Legend? And, why are the envelopes different? Travis tries to remember what Mrs. Pinchon said, “Things aren’t always as they appear.” Will he succeed, or will Travis wind up in more trouble?

Ms. Feldman’s story of a struggle for a 12 year old boy trying to determine what is the right thing to do in light of such great motivation. This chapter book was written for the 10 and up audience, perhaps they are a better judge of this type of story. It was a laborious read; perhaps the same story could have been told in half the pages.

BIBLIO: 2010, Greenwillow Books, Ages 10 and up, $16.99.
REVIEWER: Debby Willett
ISBN: 978-0-06-195105-3

REVIEWED FOR: Children’s Literature, Online Version, 8/10/10

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