Monday, July 6, 2015
Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi
The setting is in the 1950's, and the fear of Communism is spreading across the country. Pete is living a normal life in Brooklyn, until the day after open house. The teacher announces to the class that Pete's dad is a Communist, so everyone starts to ignore Pete or treats him like an enemy. His best friend, Kat, is being spied on by another student, so her father can make sure they aren't talking anymore. The FBI is even investigating Pete's dad, and he could be put in prison if the government thinks he's Communist. His crime? He told the teacher that schools should teach more about the history of black people and the common man. However, Pete thinks there's more to it. Is his father a Communist? Did his father or grandfather do something that could get the family in trouble? How could an innocent young boy's life go so wrong, so quickly?
I hope young readers give this book a chance. Although, the fear of Communism isn't as rampant today, an analogy can be made to way some Muslims were treated after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Pete's character battles huge internal and external conflicts. The teacher's verbal attacks and being shunned by kids who were his best buddies the day before present challenges. Pete is confused by things his father said, and he's not sure what to do about an FBI agent. Kat is challenged by the whole situation too, because she doesn't want to abandon her best friend. Pete treats the whole situation like it's a mystery, and he's the detective who will solve it. Sections of the book are written in italics to mimic the tone of old, old mystery novels and movies.