Summary: Paddy Armstrong’s mouth gets him into trouble when a smart-ass answer to his irritating step-father’s question about what he’s going to do after high school changes his whole life. His mother’s worried, his dad is proud and his girlfriend breaks up with him. When Paddy follows through on his choice, a medical examination reveals a secret that has the power to destroy his family as he knows it. Now it’s up to Paddy to decide whether he will be the spark that lights the gasoline or the one who brings everyone together.
Number of Pages: 125
Age Range: 13-15
Review: When Paddy finds out his blood type is B and his parents are both blood type A, he quickly figures out that something is amiss. B Negative is a fast-paced journey through one teenager’s exploration of what being family really means. I liked Paddy’s hot-headed attitude that sometimes got him into trouble but was ultimately protecting a truly loyal and loving person inside. Well, loyal and loving to everyone except Anthony, Paddy’s mother’s husband.
This book is geared toward reluctant readers as part of the Orca Soundings collection, but I love how Grant slips in some symbolism through giving Paddy blood poisoning after he punches Anthony and cuts his hand on the glass. It’s perfect because on another level, Paddy’s blood type is what temporarily poisons the whole family. Nice touch.
“He takes a sip of coffee. I can see it burns his lip. It always does. I used to wonder why he didn’t just blow on it or wait until it cooled down a bit but I don’t anymore. I realize that for dad it’s all part of manning up. You do what you have to do and keep quiet about it. Sometimes that means sacrificing your life for your kid’s. Sometimes that means choking down burning hot coffee.” – Paddy from B Negative by Vicki Grant, page 46
“Then sometime later – I don’t know how long – I open my eyes and I see Mom. Her face is all puffy and wet. I suddenly understand how sick I am – but it’s weird. I’m not scared. It’s just a sort of fact.” – Danny from B Negative by Vicki Grant, page 117