Meeting Chance by Jennifer Lavoie
Expected Publication Date: Oct. 15, 2013 by Bold Strokes Books
I was drawn to this book immediately because I am a pitbull advocate and firm believer that breed-specific legislation needs to be banned in this country, so I was happy to read about Aaron and Chance. I liked that the book contains good themes for youth to read about:
– Importance of volunteering
– Accepting those who are “different”
– Kindness to animals
– Overcoming stereotypes
– Advocating for what you believe in
I was also glad to see that the author avoids clichés. For example, the dog that bit Aaron was not a pitbull or a stereotypical “aggressive” breed commonly associated with attacks. Also, unlike most books where the parents are divorced, Aaron’s parents were both still active in his life. Frequently in that situation, one parent (usually the father) is absent and not in the character’s life at all.
I did, however, feel that much of the dialogue seemed forced and unnatural, especially between Aaron and Finn. I was disappointed that the story of Aaron overcoming his fear of dogs seemed to be put on the back burner once Aaron reconnects with old friends. When Aaron finally starts working with dog’s other than Chance, that part of the story is summarized, almost glossed over when it should be a huge part of the story. After all, the beginning of the book focuses almost entirely on Aaron’s overpowering fear of dogs.
Overall, I felt the book struggled between two story lines: Aaron working to overcome his fear of dogs and Aaron’s struggle to establish/maintain friendships after coming out. The two storylines never seemed to coincide with one another, and I felt like one plot was left behind in order for the other plot to come to the forefront.
Though not the greatest LGBT book I have ever read, I think Meeting Chance is worth a read, especially if it makes even one person give pitbulls a chance.