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Reviewed by Melinda Facal for Readers' Favorite
Jocki MacTavish by Albert Marsolais is an intriguing tale set in a fishing village in Scotland in 1705. Jocki is a humble, hardworking 11-year-old boy who cleans his family’s tavern, assists the town’s doctor, and cares for homeless cats. Jocki becomes very concerned when the cats he tends to go missing while, at the same time, strange deliveries are made from a ship in the port. From there, things only take a turn for the worse. With Jocki leading the way, his family and this close-knit village come together to help find the missing cats and to solve the mysteries developing around them. Throughout this story we see Jocki balancing the challenges in his life as he deals with issues that many adolescents face, such as bullying, trying to make good choices, and trying to relate to his sometimes distant father.
I immediately liked this book for several reasons; the cozy village setting, the many endearing characters, the suspense, and also the vivid descriptions of living in the early 1700s. Jocki stands out as someone who seems wise beyond his years and it was very interesting to read how thoughtfully he went about his day while also trying to solve multiple mysteries. In this story, Jocki is learning about himself, his faith, and his family and he shows great courage, determination, empathy, and wisdom. His family and the members of the village support Jocki and help to teach him about life. I highly recommend Jocki MacTavish by Albert Marsolais for preteens and anyone who enjoys a great story!