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In pop culture, YADA-YADA usually means "blah, blah, blah" or "more of the same." For this blog, YADA-YADA is an acronym meaning "Young Adult Discussions About Young Adult-Designed Art." Check out my summaries and reviews of teen media. Chime in and let me know what you think!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blog No. 46--Finding Lubchenko byMichael Simmons

GENRE: YA Thriller

Title: Finding Lubchenko
Author: Michael Simmons

Bibliographic Information:
Pub. Date: June 2005
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Hardcover, 288pp
Age Range: Young Adult
ISBN-13: 9781595140210
ISBN: 1595140212


Reader’s Annotation:
Evan Macalister is a rich kid whose father makes him live poorly—he never has a dime in his pocket—so he makes money by stealing high-ticket items from his father’s medical business and selling them on the black market. When his father is accused of a high crime, Even finds he holds the key—in one of the computers he had stolen but not yet sold—and it leads him to someone that might help—Lubchenko—if only he can find him.

Plot Summary:
Evan Macalister is the quintessential spoiled rich kid except he never has any money. This poverty is forced upon him by his father, the brains behind a huge medical business that is worth billions. Even spends his day goofing off—he’s no brain at school (too much “tude” for that—and the only friend he has in the world is Ruben, another rich kid who has a huge garage at his disposal, huge brains to match and wants to get into a major university. Ruben is a computer genius who is crazy about Erica, the “Viking goddess” who only likes bad boys. Well, Ruben and Evan are bad boys in a way—Evan pilfers high-end computers and other equipment from his father’s business, and he and Ruben sell it to make money. This nefarious business makes Ruben nervous, but because he is a “good friend” to Evan, he goes along with it.

Basically, the only one who pays any attention to Evan (besides Ruben) is Mrs. Andropolis, the housekeeper. One day things go especially wrong. Mr. Macalister is arrested for murder of Mr. Belachek, a man who worked for him. Of course, no one can believe it, and it quickly seems, to Evan and Ruben at least, that Mr. Macalister was framed. But the evidence is stacked against him. Evan and Ruben go to work, and find a key piece of evidence right in Evan’s possession: one of the computers he pilfered from his dad’s business holds some amazing evidence that leads to a man named Lubchenko. If they can find Lubchenko, perhaps they can clear Evan’s father. But they can’t tell the police—the computer will be taken as evidence in their crimes, and Ruben and Evan will go to jail. So, what do they do now?

Critical Evaluation:
This book started out very slow, filled with dull exposition for the first 50 or so pages, until Mr. Macalister was arrested for murder. Then, it got a little bit more interesting. Thrilling? Not really. Like James Bond, as the publishers’ marketing claims? Really, not really! The book is good enough, but I kind of feel like it was a bit of a waste of my time to read it. The writing did not grab me at all, and Evan’s poor attitude just got on my nerves. He is hardly sympathetic, which makes it hard for a reader to root for him. However, I am not a teenage boy, and I do believe this is precisely the kind of book that boys might love. So, any boys out there please write me and tell me what you think!

Of course, like so many other YA novels, this book has a sequel. My teaching assistant, Andrew, had read the second one, which we had purchased at a five-dollar sale from the Junior Library Guild, and he had asked if we had the first one. Almost out of print, this copy was hard to find. Andrew told me that the second book was actually better, and it was written so that reading the first one was not even necessary.

To me, this is the sign of a not-so-good writer. But anyway, I am not the target audience. So boys, read on, and tell me I am very wrong. At least, that is what I am hoping to hear…

Reading level/Interest Age:
This book is recommended for a YA audience, which largely means 13 and up. The poor attitude of the young men here makes me feel that 15 and up is a better fit, although boys that age may find it silly…

Information about the Author:
Michael Simmons grew up in cold Minnesota, where his first career goal was to become a hockey player. He is a very private person, and there is very little published information about Mr. Simmons available.

Today, he lives in New York City. He became an author after writing teaching guides about other YA novels, and he felt he could do better than some of the novels he was reading. His first book, Pool Boy, was published in 2003.

Curriculum Ties: None.

Booktalking Ideas: Imagine that you might be the only one who can help your father escape a murder conviction—but doing so will put you in jail for another charge. What do you do? Do you sacrifice yourself for an “old man” who was filthy rich and never gave you a dime? Or do you do the right thing—especially when you know he is not guilty?

Challenge Issues: Too boring to be challenged.

Why I Included This Book:
I read it because my TA asked me to, and since I read it, I felt compelled to blog about it. End of story…

Cover image courtesy of: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Finding-Lubchenko/Michael-Simmons/e/9781595140210

1 comment:

  1. I'm a 58 year old "boy." I thought the book was a fun read. (Keeping it in context and genre.) Enjoyed the bad boy nature of character. It didn't get on my nerves. Thought it was an authentic 16-year voice. And the poor choices he kept making? Very adolescent.

    Now if someone had made me read the book when I didn't feel drawn to the book...? I'm sure I'd probably agree with your criticisms.

    From back cover:


    -- A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
    -- A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
    -- A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best pick
    -- A Center for Children's Books Best Book of the year