May 09, 2024

Zevi Takes the Spotlight (Orca Currents)

Written by Carol Matas
Orca Book Publishers
128 pp.
Ages 9-12
RL 2.7
April 2024
Some gift! Unlike other gifts, this one is not returnable. (pg. 2)

Zevi's gift? He's psychic. Sometimes he can see into the future, or dream about something that is going happen, hear someone's thoughts, or even talk to the dead. When he dreams of the location of a missing 5-year-old girl, he helps the police find the child unharmed. But, for a Grade 7 boy who wants to be an actor, he doesn't appreciate the celebrity, both good and bad, that comes with this good deed.

Now Zevi's family is getting dragged into the filming of a movie starring Robert Lemon when their glass-and-steel home is selected as a location for the futuristic movie. Problem is that Zevi keeps sensing a dark cloud associated with the star and the boy is worried that Mr. Lemon is in danger. When repeated accidents occur on set i.e., at their house, Zevi, his best friend Nir, and Zevi's family use their proximity to the movie to do some sleuthing to discover who might want to hurt Robert Lemon.
Zevi Takes the Spotlight is another fast-moving hi-lo book in the Orca Currents series, which are high-interest books written at a lower vocabulary and reading level, here at 2.7. (RL 2.7 is associated with readers in the seventh month of Grade 2.) Carol Matas, a prolific writer of everything from picture books to historical fiction, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi, capably writes a compelling mystery for middle-grade readers at a less challenging level. She weaves a story of real characters, kids who want to try new things or don't, who want to be famous or don't, and who want to connect with others. And they've got a mystery to solve. They may have a few tricks to help them out, like Zevi's psychic ability, but that "gift" is both beneficial and an obstacle, as Zevi learns. 
Zevi may want to be an actor when he is older but he's learning early what fame can mean when he gets a taste of it. Still, it doesn't stop him from doing good for others or learning how to deal with it. His brush with celebrity may put him in the spotlight but he's now seeing beyond that attention to a path that will allow him to be both who he is and who he wants to be.

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