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Reality Check in Detroit (Screech Owls) by…
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Reality Check in Detroit (Screech Owls)

by Roy MacGregor

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reality Check in Detroit is an excellent addition to the Screech Owls series. MacGregor's writing is snappy, fast-paced, and engaging. His characters are relatable, fully rounded, and actually think and act like normal 12-year-olds (as opposed to the adults in children's clothing found in far too many books for young readers).

MacGregor deserves kudos for incorporating difficult issues - privilege vs. poverty, reality vs. entertainment - into the narrative in an intelligent yet age-appropriate fashion that doesn't do readers' thinking for them. My one gripe is with his handling of the adults in the Screech Owls' universe: shouldn't the coaches and parents have known better? Shouldn't they have read the writing on the wall and nipped the teams' exploitation in the bud? But this is a small and commonplace complaint - young adult literature would be far poorer if every offering featured caretakers who weren't sleeping on the job. I recommend Reality Check in Detroit to any reader looking for an engaging yarn that isn't afraid to tackle difficult issues.
  Trismegistus | May 5, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Travis, Nish, Sarah, Data, and the rest of the Screech Owls find themselves in Detroit to take part in what is supposed to be a four-day televised skills competition. The competition turns out to be a scripted "reality" TV show about rich versus poor — and the Screech Owls are the baddies. Though they recognize something is amiss, the Owls may not be able to solve the puzzle before their long-weekend visit goes really wrong.

REALITY CHECK IN DETROIT marks another volume in the long-running Screech Owls series. Emphasizing team work, hard work, and good friends, these books fuse hockey, physical comedy, and adventure in accessible texts for upper elementary readers. The writing is fast-paced and funny, the characters are identifiable and relatable, and the stories are upbeat without becoming treacly. In this volume, reality TV and Twitter add fresh notes to a familiar storyline.

My one criticism of this book is the character of Wayne Nishikawa, or Nish, as readers know him. I've never cared for this character. In earlier books, he's been a goofy but somehow loveable combination of obnoxiousness and misguided arrogance; in this book, however, I found him insufferable and couldn't understand how the team dynamic withstands his constant self-aggrandizement. As he is at the centre of the action for most of the book, I found myself cringing repeatedly. Once again, Nish arrives at the end of the adventure not seeming to have learned much, and I suspect readers can look forward to more plots featuring his boorish self-absorption.

That said, this is an easy-going series. Originally intended for reluctant readers, the Screech Owls are now a go-to for readers who enjoys sports-themed stories of friendship and adventure. While not a standout volume in the series, REALITY CHECK IN DETROIT is a fine, fun novel. ( )
1 vote laVermeer | Apr 27, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reality Check in Detroit is a story about a young team of hockey players entering into a reality television show in Detroit however the producers may not be entirely honest about what kind of show they are making. The idea is great and there is a wide assembled cast of characters however certainly problems arise. The pacing is mostly fine until the climax which is smoothed over too quickly. It felt like a scooby-doo episode where the gang revealed the true identity of the villain halfway through show. Now the characters are fun but the main character suffers from being too much of a wallflower. A main character doesn't have to be a great hockey player or have special skills but he does have to actively participate in the story. In some parts of the book, he disappears almost completely. This book is a quick read, and is most suited for hockey fans entering middle-school. ( )
  jwalker321 | Apr 12, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Screech Owls are back with a new adventure and lesson. I love how [Roy MacGregor] mixes hockey with a life lesson in his books. In [Reality Check in Detriot] the team is asked to be on a reality show but they quickly learn that reality tv isn't that real.

The characters that [MacGregor] creates all blend well and keep a good balance in the story. Although I personally can't stand Nish and his ego but he is typical of boys that age. Travis is a good balance. I will be passing this book off to my niece to read and recommending that my school library get it at well. ( )
  MsHooker | Apr 4, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
REALITY CHECK IN DETROIT by Roy MacGregor is the latest in the Screech Owl hockey mystery-adventure series for middle grades.

The Screech Owls are a local hockey team in a small Canadian community. In their latest adventure, the team has been invited to star in a reality TV show in Detroit. After the initial excitement wears off, they realize that stardom may not be worth the sacrifices to their team and their friendships. Where do the lies end and the authentic reality begin?

For the past 20 years, MacGregor has written engaging adventures for young hockey fans. The mystery stories are told through the eyes of the team captain, Travis Lindsay. The 26 books are available individually or in collected volumes of 4 books. Readers seeking sports fiction focusing on team building and friendships will enjoy this series.

Librarians will find that the fast-paced, easy-to-follow stories are great for reluctant readers. The storylines have a nice balance of live hockey sequences with team drama and light-hearted banter. Librarians don’t need to worry about having all the books in hand. Although the team members carry over from book to book, each book stands on its own. The plots revolve around real places and events or universal themes.

To learn more about the series, go to http://www.screechowls.com/.

Published by Tundra, February 2015. ( )
  eduscapes | Apr 3, 2015 |
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The Screech Owls are invited to compete in a four-day skills competition in Detroit. Along with another team, they will be participating in a reality show called Goals & Dreams. They're staying at a fancy hotel, being showered with hockey swag, given Hollywood nicknames, and posing for the film crew -- Hockeytown doesn't look bad at all! That's until they meet the other team and start noticing how differently they're being treated. Are the producers engineering certain tensions and situations to pump up the show? The Screech Owls don't like to be manipulated ...… (more)

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