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Rocco by Sherryl Jordan
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1113108,775 (3.66)3
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    The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen (mybookshelf)
    mybookshelf: Antoher story about a boy who suddenly finds he's not on modern Earth any more, and struggles to fit in with the new culture and environment in which he finds himself.

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Rocco is the first book that I can remember making me cry. It's always a bit of a gamble to revisit books that had such a strong hold over you at some stage in life, because if it doesn't still - it's bound to be a let-down.

While it couldn't completely live up to my expectations, it fortunately came very, very close, so I only had to down-scale my rating from 5 to 4 stars. It's an interesting story, and powerfully written. I could have wished for it to be a bit longer and slightly more complex, as it is very obvious that it's written with an YA audience in mind. On the other hand, if Rocco had stayed longer in Anshur, I think the book would have ended up being even more painful to read.

A quick read - I finished in in 2 hours - and a pleasant revisit. ( )
  Kiwiria | Mar 30, 2013 |
Rocco Makepeace is just another ordinary guy, with a senile grandmother and an annoying younger sister, until the dreams begin. By the end of chapter two, he finds himself transported to the Valley of Anshur, a primitive society presided over by the mysterious Ayoshe, who understands Rocco so well that he assumes she is a witch. Unable to get home, Rocco gradually becomes part of Anshur society, making friends and enemies there, and advancing their technology.

The characters in this book are strikingly realistic, and the ways in which they relate to each other make them seem just like anybody’s ordinary family- jealousy, anxiety, attraction and weariness are all woven together into the tale.

In his unfamiliar new territory, Rocco must learn to adapt to the Anshur way of living; from hunting unknown wildlife with spear and bow, to respecting the seriousness of the customs he could not have known anything about. Likewise, the people must adapt to him; learning from him, accepting his indecipherable comments about electrical appliances, and allowing him to shave in peace.

Rocco makes a number of assumptions about Anshur and its people when he first arrives, and the reader is often as surprised as Rocco himself to discover the mistakes he has made. There are a number of unexpected twists to the plot, mostly to do with Rocco’s perceptions of Ayoshe.

This book is expertly structured, the majority set in Anshur framed by a short sections at the beginning and end set in the present day, or maybe a year or two from now.
One of the main ideas of the book is that “our greatest achievements are begun with the most insignificant acts”, an idea which brings the story to its unexpected conclusion, and which I have thought about often in the 15+ years since I first read this marvellous story.

Having read the book at least five times, there are still sections which make me laugh out loud, like when the young men start playing practical jokes on each other; and I usually shed a tear when I read the passage where Rocco grieves for a character who has died.

I believe the book holds equal appeal for a male or female reader, from the ages of 10 upwards. ( )
  mybookshelf | Jul 13, 2010 |
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My deepest thanks to Andreas Vollenweider whose music "White Winds" inspired the Valley of Anshur, and became a part of the whole amazing and joyous experience that was the writing of this novel.
First words
The wind hissed and signed in the crevices of the cave, tore the fire into shreds and spun the embers, spitting sparks, into the smoky dark.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A time of darkness (Published in New Zealand as: Rocco)
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Book description
A teenage boy with unusual powers faces the challenge of his life when he's transported to a primitive society.

All he did was close his eyes...

Rocco Makepeace just made an unexpected trip--one with no return ticket. Now he is alone in a primitive world, one as dark and frightening as any described in his history books.

Where is he? When is he?
Can he ever go home again?
Or will he die
...lost forever?
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A teenage boy with unusual powers faces the challenge of his life when he's transported to a primitive society.

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