by Jeff Ross
Orca Book Publishers, 2019
ISBN 978-1-4598-1876-7 (pb)
$9.95, 148 pp, ages 10 – 12

A hockey story, a teen romance, a mystery at school, Shutout is the story of Alex, the goalie of the school hockey team, an excellent student who is suspended from the team for vandalizing the school during the playoffs. Although Alex is innocent of the crime, Principal Novak pursues him like a Javert following a beleaguered Jean Valjean from “Les Miserables.” While trying to prove his innocence, Alex loses his girlfriend and the starting position in the playoff finals. Only through diligence and a last-minute stakeout are Alex and his friend able to uncover the unlikeliest of plots and the least suspected culprit in this case of blind justice.

Curriculum Connections: The student who likes and plays sports will enjoy this easy-to-read novel for its detailed descriptions of the game of hockey as Alex helps his team on and off the ice. The author certainly knows the strategy of the game. With minute detail he builds tension and suspense as if the reader is sitting in the rink. The same suspense is mirrored in the mystery of the school vandalism and the tension between the arts and sports students. The novel does provide a moral at the end, instructing the reader that vast differences of likes and dislikes can find common ground, and that understanding can often lead to long-term friendships. A great read!

Review by Kent Miller.

This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Fall 2019 issue.

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