Again I am impressed with the work of another red Maple nominee! Lunch with Lenin is a book of short stories. These are sophisticated stories which are well suited to the mature grade 7 & 8 reader or adults. The theme is drugs and the underlying message, that 'there is always more than meets the eye" is an important message for everyone. The characters are often heartbreakers. Ellis, who wrote the 'Breadwinner' books has a keen eye for the dirty realities of some people's lives and she pulls no punches with this book. Besides the excellent plots I also admire anyone who can write dialogue well, (because that's what I try to do, too). Ellis is convincing in her dialogue and makes every voice ring true, whether the character is male or female, from small town Ontario, rural Alghanistan, Russia, the Phillipines, Bolivia, a girls prison boot camp, or has the haunting voice of a boy with Fetal alcohol syndrome. This is an over-the-top collection of good stuff.
Again, I am humbled to be a part of this Red Maple competition with entries such as there.