KABOOM!

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Young Adult -

Brian Adams, Green Writ­ers Press Soft­cover $16.95 (324pp), 978-0-9962676-6-3

In fif­teen-year-old Cyn­die’s Ap­palachian home­town of Green­field, West Vir­ginia, coal com­pa­nies carry a lot of clout. When she and her best friend, Ash­ley, learn that moun­tain­top re­moval is planned for their beloved hang­out, Mount Tom, they de­cide they have to do some­thing about it. Af­ter all, they can’t bear to lose the one place in na­ture where they “get a good heavy dose of old­time re­li­gion”—and gos­sip about boys. With the help of their sci­ence teacher, Mr. Cooper, they form a new club, Kids Against Blow­ing Off Our Moun­tain­tops (KABOOM), and get started with pe­ti­tions, let­ter writ­ing, and planning a march. “I was no longer Cyn­die the In­vis­i­ble. I was Cyn­die the Ac­tivist,” the en­gag­ing nar­ra­tor mar­vels.

KABOOM! is re­tired en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence pro­fes­sor Brian Adams’s sec­ond work of ro­man­tic-comic cli­mate fic­tion, af­ter Love in the Time of Cli­mate Change (2014). The au­thor en­lists Rosa Parks, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. as his­tor­i­cal ex­am­ples of civil dis­obe­di­ence, and sit­u­ates Cyn­die and Ash­ley within an un­ex­pect­edly large com­mu­nity of fic­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists— not least Cyn­die’s late mother, who protested strip-min­ing back in the 1980s. The girls’ un­likely part­ners in the fight against MTR in­clude an evan­gel­i­cal youth group and a quirky band of Civil War reen­ac­tors. But as Aun­tie Sadie, a font of folk wis­dom, is fond of re­peat­ing, “Life is like a Fer­ris wheel.” KABOOM faces set­backs along the way, but the over­all mes­sage is one of em­pow­er­ment for young peo­ple. “If I can do it, then any­one can!” Cyn­die in­sists. Adams’s sur­pris­ingly solid grasp of a teenage girl’s shift­ing emo­tions and slang vo­cab­u­lary are two of the high­lights of this funny and so­cially en­gaged novel.

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