430. Ink Me by Richard Scrimger
Seven: The Series
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
Oct. 10 2012, Orca Books, 224 pgs
"Bunny (real name Bernard) doesn't understand why his late grandfather wants him to get a tattoo. Actually, Bunny doesn't understand a lot of things, so it's good that his older brother, Spencer, is happy to explain things to him. But this is a task Bunny is supposed to do on his own, and nobody is more surprised than Bunny when, after he gets tattooed, he is befriended by a kid named Jaden and adopted into Jaden's gang. The gang hangs out at a gym, where Bunny learns to fight, but when it finally dawns on him that the gang is involved in some pretty shady—and dangerous—business, Bunny is torn between his loyalty to his new friends and doing what he knows is right."
Borrowed a copy from my local library.
This series has no particular reading order and I picked this one next because two of the books take place within Canada so I thought I'd get to one of those next and this author was totally new to me; I'd never even heard of him before. I've highly enjoyed every book in this series so far but have to say this one did not do much for me. The significance of the Grandfather is quickly forgotten in this entry after Bernard (everyone calls him Bunny) gets the tattoo as instructed in the will. Every now nd then he is mentioned but we have no idea what purpose this quest had for Bunny. His tattoo quickly gets him (a white boy) accepted into an all black street gang and involved in gang activities, mostly reckless but harmless, until a deal goes down involving drugs, guns and money. The book starts with Bunny being asked to write his account of what happened in a police station and this is how the book proceeds; Bunny's written narrative. The book is hard to read as Bunny is somewhat illiterate and the writing is full of spelling mistakes and words are written in his own vernacular. Bunny is also not quite ... right. Nothing is ever said what is wrong with him. But he continually refers to himself as "stupid" and not smart enough; he also has a fixation with counting mundane things. My impression was that he may have been autistic. I didn't find the story very believable as Bunny obviously needs to be watched over to some degree and his parents leave him to his own devices to the extent that it is neglectful, his acceptance into the gang is questionable and how he gets away with giving the impression he's someone he's not is also. On top of all that the question of why this all happens in the first place is too pat of an explanation, quickly accepted by all. I enjoyed parts of it, especially the race relations when the black gang accepts Bunny as a member and Bunny's colourless (raceless) viewpoint of people, which is often a symptom of autism, and his naive yet profound race questions.
From this point my next book in the series is quite obvious as Bunny has a brother who has his own quest and he is mentioned often in this book with his texts to Bunny playing a major role in what transpires in this story. So next up will be Ted Staunton's Jump Cut.