Book Review: Nolichuck!

Nolichuck! TJ's Wild Frontier Adventure
Published By: Treble Heart Books
Publication Date: September 2011
Page Count: 281
Buy it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Source: Kindly Provided by Author
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy, Historical Fiction

I have had this one on my review list for quite awhile, but I'm trying to knock these lingering ones out. I read this one over the past few days and while it certainly has merits - this was not the book for me.

The main character, TJ, is still reeling from his parents' divorce and trying to figure out how life is supposed to work now that his family has been drastically altered. I found that he was a realistic character, but I had trouble connecting with him. There was nothing that made me truly want to spend time with him. I doubt this will be the case for many younger males. I can see how TJ and his story will appeal to their adventurous nature. I do feel that the author was trying to call attention to some serious issues like bullying and divorce through TJ's life. While I appreciate authors who add commentary about social issues to their stories, I need an emotional attachment to the character to make a read compelling.

In addition, I found the writing to be fairly simplistic. There is a lot of telling rather than showing. I  find these sorts of stories to be tedious. Again, this is something a much younger reader might not be bothered by at all. I had to struggle to finish this one because my mind kept wandering away from the plot. In the end, I did finish, but it took a lot of effort.

One thing I did enjoy about this novel was the history. I loved watching TJ learn to interact with an environment that was unlike his own. Keene's passion for history is apparent and as fellow history lover, I can appreciate that. I found the Tennessee frontier to be an intriguing place to set a novel. Furthermore, I did like how TJ gets transported to the past and how that aspect of the novel worked.

There is an audience out there who will love this novel, but sadly it wasn't one I enjoyed.

One Last Gripe: I am not a fan of the cover.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The history

First Sentence: As she passed by in the crowded hallway, the tall blond-headed teen spotted his prey.

TJ’s just an ordinary fourteen year old kid with extraordinary problems at home and school:  A broken up family from his parents’ bitter divorce, evil bullies almost every afternoon, failing grades, boring classes, snobby girls, mean teachers, cut from basketball tryouts, few friends.
Life is rough for TJ Cockrell.

Then that mysterious little green book had to go and throw him into the past.  And not just any past, but into the untamed forbidding forests of 1802 eastern Tennessee along with the savage Indians, wild beasts, bloodthirsty robbers, backwoods ruffians, and log cabin living!  Yup, it’s definitely not 2011 Knoxville anymore.
And he thought his present life was bad news!  But TJ’s adventures are only beginning.  Along the way, he fights off killer beasts and bandits and braves, meets the young Davy Crockett, gains a world of confidence in himself, finds his first real love, and is befriended by a fantastic frontier family who really has it together.
When he returns to the present, he’s a brand new person.  However, there’re killers loose in his house, bullies waiting to beat him up at school, a pretty new girl at Highland High he’s hasn’t even seen yet.  And the aftermath of the little green book yet to deal with!