Thirteen year old jack Hicks loves everything about Coppertown – his family and friends. Barbeques and Friday music nights, and his best friend’s beautiful sister, Hannah. Everything. That is, except for what keeps the community thriving and drove out nature long ago – mining, living in a treeless landscape that looks like the moon. He yearns to see the bugs and birds and frogs outside of books.
When the miners strike, Jack is thrilled that green and growing things at last have a chance to return to the red hills. But when that same strike threatens to close the mine and force people to leave Coppertown for new homes and jobs, Jack finds himself struggling to hold onto everything he loves.
I am nineteen years old. I’ve attended enough of social studies and environmental science classes to know all about how man kills nature. So when people talk about AVOID PLASTIC and PLANT MORE TREES and RUN THE ICE CAPS ARE MELTING, I yawn.
I expected this book to be another lecture. Big mistake. So when I found myself listening to Jack talking about how “living on Coppertown was like living on the moon”, how Miss Post taught them about trees and amphibians and birds when there weren’t any, how the fog left holes in his mom’s stockings hung out to dry, I kept listening.
But this book isn’t all about how the mining industry in Coppertown killed all the birds. It’s also about a fourteen year old boy dreaming about dirt bikes and crushing over his best friend’s sister. About Friday music nights, fishing, breaking an arm over a dare, rubbing a rabbit’s foot for luck, praying for his dad’s safety in the mines, blackberry picking with his mom and best friend, and agonizing over the fact that he didn’t like the future his dad already decided for him.
The tone was nicely set – it wasn’t dragging, it wasn’t hurried, not too descriptive that it doesn’t help the story along. I really liked Jack’s voice. Some pages managed to pull me through and transport me to the tailings pond where he took home Little Man and next to Piran listening to the “chick-a-dees”.
I loved Coppertown. Although it is the very example of how negative an effect we have had on our planet, Dulemba has managed to make me love the people and the shy green.
DO NOT MISS OUT ON THE AUTHOR’S NOTE.
VERDICT: 4 stars