Summary: Fresh from fighting with her mother, seventeen year-old Kerry Williams is banished to the woods of Northern Ontario near Dryden for a summer job. A party thrown on her first night changes her job position when a forest fire is started and Kerry and her roommate Yvette are reassigned to kitchen duty for the revolving door of firefighters now coming through base camp. Accusations of who started the fire run rampant and Kerry and Yvette do their part to solve the mystery, but the truth turns out to be more complicated and dangerous than either one of them could have ever expected.
Number of Pages: 202
Age Range: 15-17
Review: In the face of a surprising lack of parental contact despite serious situation, Kerry and Yvette bond initially over being the only girls in the camp and take care of each other even when they disagree. Kerry begins the novel as a naive seventeen year-old, but falling in love with a Métis named Aubrey and being thrust into the deep end of responsibility mature her quickly as she realises she can be her own person outside of her mother’s expectations for her.
Evenly paced with lots of dramatic action, Smokescreen lives up to its title as several characters have hidden agendas. Veteran author Nancy Hartry’s quick and enticing book will keep readers guessing which characters are genuine and which ones are telling lies right up until the final chapters when all is revealed in a satisfying conclusion.
Recommended for reluctant and recreational readers.
*Review first appeared in the Winter 2014 edition of the Canadian Children’s BookNews.
“‘Help me out here. You’re from Ontario too.’
‘We should be part of Manitoba. Northwestern Ontario is closer to Winnipeg than Toronto. All’s I’m saying is, maybe you should mix more with the guys and stop giving people those looks like they’re stupid.’
‘I didn’t realize. Thanks for the advice.’ I think. He’s so direct.” – Conversation between Kerry and Didier about the differences between north Ontario and Toronto from Smokescreen by Nancy Hartry, page 72
Smokescreen by Nancy Hartry is published by Tundra Books, (2013).