Review: Zevi Takes the Spotlight

Zevi Takes the Spotlight

by Carol Matas

Orca Currents (imprint of Orca Book Publishers), 2024

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Stacey Rattner

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Do you ever think you would like to see into the future? Zevi has that unique gift. He’s a psychic. And not only that, he can also read people’s minds and thoughts. Therefore, he’s not your typical seventh grader.

Zevi, who fantasizes about being a famous actor one day, gets closer to this dream when the actor Robert Lemon comes to Zevis’ home town of Vancouver to shoot his first role in a major drama film. Robert Lemon is known for his action films, not dramas. Could he really be that bad of an actor when he switches genres? Maybe. It gets even more exciting when the producers choose Zevi’s unusual home for the set. Is this the break Zevi’s looking for? What if Robert Lemon offers him a job in his next movie?

But when Zevi has to use his psychic powers to save Robert and figure out who's trying to hurt him, be becomes too busy to worry about his own acting career. He and his friends want to know-which prime suspects on and off the set could it be?

As it states on their website, "Orca Currents are short, high-interest novels with contemporary themes written specifically for middle-school students reading below grade level." The plot flows quickly in this mystery, accessible for all, including dyslexic and other “striving readers.” The text is a dyslexia friendly font and is printed on cream colored paper with larger trim size. And although the reading level is lower, the content is definitely appropriate for middle grader readers.

Most of the characters are incidentally Jewish, including Robert Lemon. Jewish phrases and words are sprinkled throughout as well as Jewish traditions and customs. Robert even joins Zevi’s family for Shabbat dinner. Jewish young people will enjoy seeing themselves in Zevi and non-Jewish readers and thespians of any faith, will certainly appreciate Zevi and his friends’ quest to find out who is out to get Robert.

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Stacey “Leaping Librarian” Rattner is an elementary school librarian in upstate New York. In addition to leaping, she loves to go to the theatre, travel, hike, drink coffee, hang with family and of course, read. Stacey is also the co-host of the middle grade YouTube quiz show, Author Fan Face-off with author Steve Sheinkin.