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Also Known as Rowan Pohi: 06/08/12

cover art

Also Known as Rowan Pohi is a new YA by long time author Ralph Fletcher. My son's been recommending his books to me for about a year now, so I jumped at the change to read his newest.

Rowan Pohi reads like the YA version of I Am Not Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos. I say that fondly as both are great stories of self acceptance and self improvement. Joey Pigza which is aimed at a slightly younger set of readers is a more light hearted take, while Also Known at Rowan Pohi pulls fewer punches.

Bobby Steele, Marcus and Big Poobs spend their free time at IHOP. It is there that they make up Rowan Pohi and apply to the local private high school in his name. When Rowan is accepted, the three friends decide they must kill him off before things get any farther out of hand. Except, Bobby sees Rowan as a chance to escape from his current underfunded, crappy public high school. He can reinvent himself.

Again like Joey, Bobby comes from a broken family. Here though, it's him, his much younger brother and their father, who a couple years back burned their mother with an iron. The fact that she left her children with the man who had sent her to the hospital and forever scarred her, is the one detail that leaves me scratching my head. It also put me on edge for the remainder of the book, afraid that Bobby's alternate life as Rowan Pohi would send his father over the edge again.

Although the set up of Also Known as Rowan Pohi is a bit goofy, it plays out well. There's a chance for a smart kid to better himself but there are also consequences for his deception.

Read via NetGalley

Four stars

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