Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Also Known as Rowan Pohi, by Ralph Fletcher- Review

From Goodreads:
Bobby Steele and his pals, Marcus and Big Poobs, all public school kids from working class backgrounds, are waiting for tenth grade to start when they come across an application form for Whitestone Academy, a prestigious and posh private school. Just for giggles, they decide that a nonexistent kid should apply—and so Rowan Pohi is born. (Named for their favorite hangout, Pohi is IHOP spelled backwards.) Amazingly enough, the phantom Rowan is accepted at Whitestone. 

Eager to escape the boredom of public school and his unhappiness at home, Bobby shows up at Whitestone’s new student orientation, reinventing himself as Rowan. He begins a  suspenseful career as an impostor, hoping that the two worlds he’s living in will stay separate forever. For a short, exhilarating time, they do. 

I love a good story about reinventing yourself, because lets face it, most of us would've loved the opportunity, especially in grade school or high school.  And Bobby's Rowan transition is pretty epic.  It was downright Ferris Bueller-esque.

I liked Bobby's character quite a bit.  He's spontaneous and doesn't really think about the consequences of what he's getting into, everything is done by the seat of his pants.  But obviously he's also smart, no dummy could pull off the scam he's setting up.  Which makes his entry into Whitestone less of a joke and more of his rightful place as a smart kid who needs to be challenged more then his sad public school can manage.  And that's the turning point from amusing scam story to actually rooting for Bobby for me.

However I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a bit more of his friends in the story.  They're there to set things up but then become slightly dispensable which I thought was a loss to the story.  Marcus and Big Poobs had the potential to be amusing side kicks, and as a pretty short book there was room for that aspect of the story to be expanded on.  Instead the focus is more on Bobby, his dad, his brother and two girls at Whitestone.  If you think about Ferris Bueller, Sloane and Cameron really made the story, without them it's just a delinquent teen who's way too smart for his own good.  Bobby could have used a bit more rounding out through his friends, and it could have done a lot for building some of the suspense.

That being said, this was a fun light read, it required little of the reader except to come along for the ride. 

Also Known as Rowan Pohi, by Ralph Fletcher
Published by Clarion, November 2011
My copy kindly provided by the folks at Houghton Mifflin
Buy Also Known as Rowan Pohi on Amazon


  1. not a good book very boring

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