Pratchett, Terry. Dodger. Fiction. HarperCollins, 2012. 360p. $17.99. 978-0-06-200949-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 8-12.
Dodger makes his living finding loose change and baubles in the sewers of early nineteenth century London. Things change when he saves the life of a young woman who mysteriously jumps from a moving carriage and is pursued by thugs. Suddenly, he finds himself in a world of international political intrigue and comes into contact with the Great Victorians of his time including Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, and Sir Robert Peel. Dodger is a hero and transcends his miserable existence with his pure instincts and courage. Dodger’s natural goodness is fine-tuned as he becomes more self-aware in the company of Dickens and his colleagues. The first historical novel by popular English fantasy writer Sir Terry Pratchett captures London life during Victoria’s early reign with realistic and comic touches that include the slang and attitudes of real life as well as Dickensian fictional characters. The cover of the book featuring a drawing of Dodger looking more like a 10-year-old than the young man featured in the book may turn off teen readers who are used to more sensational images on
their YA novels. If teens are willing to dig into Dodger, they will be rewarded with humor, a fast-paced mystery, and a painless history lesson.
Katrina Bergen, Dixon PL