Tribes

Mass Market Paperback | January 26, 2004

byArthur Slade

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Let me explain. Numerous tribes exist in friction at our school. The Logo Tribe exhibit name brands wherever and whenever possible. The Digerati Tribe worship bytes and silicon chips. The Lipstick/Hair Spray Tribe perform elaborate appearance alterations to attract mates. The ‘Gee-The-Seventies-Were-Great-Even-Though-I-Wasn’t-Born-Yet’ Tribe have predictable backwards habits. The Hockey Tribe subdivides into Oilers, Canadiens, Rangers and other assorted clans.

And finally there’s us, the quasi-omniscient Observers.


Percy Montmount, Jr., along with his best friend Elissa, have dubbed themselves the Observers of their grade 12 graduating class at Saskatoon’s Groverly High. Ever since the death of his father – a renowned anthropologist whom Percy believes died in the Congo from a bite of a tsetse fly -- Percy has mysteriously taken on his dad’s eyes, and his occupation, to examine the often inexplicable and ritualistic behaviors of his peers. Armed with his field study notebook, Percy tries to remain detached from his subjects, including Justin, an Alpha Male bully from the Jock Tribe, and Marcia Grady, a beautiful member of the Lipstick/Hairspray Tribe and various other sects: the Teacher tribe; the Born Again tribe; the Cool and Detached tribe; not to mention Mr. Verplaz, the Shaman.

For Percy it’s crucial to withdraw, analyze, and remain coolly above it all. But he’s studying real people, who complicate things. Like Elissa, the only person who can come close to him, maybe too close and his no longer not-so-scientific interest in her (or her webbed foot) is battling his desperate need not to feel any emotion. As graduation approaches, the looming ritual ratchets up Percy’s deepest, hidden feelings and reveals the truth about his father’s disappearance.

Tribes is marked by caustic humour and wry overtones but it is also layered with a subtle and poignant sensitivity about the often unquantifiable condition of adolescence. With a surprise ending and a hero whose offbeat behavior belies his all-too-human feelings of love, pain and adolescent angst, Tribes is a rare breed – a young adult novel that speaks a language that teens understand. Ages 13 and up.

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From the Publisher

Let me explain. Numerous tribes exist in friction at our school. The Logo Tribe exhibit name brands wherever and whenever possible. The Digerati Tribe worship bytes and silicon chips. The Lipstick/Hair Spray Tribe perform elaborate appearance alterations to attract mates. The ‘Gee-The-Seventies-Were-Great-Even-Though-I-Wasn’t-Born-Yet’...

Arthur Slade is the author of Northern Frights, a series of young adult novels based on old Icelandic folktales that includes Draugr, The Haunting of Drang Island and The Loki Wolf (Orca Books). Draugr was nominated for a Saskatchewan Book Award for Children’s Literature and a Small Press Book Award in the US. He also writes comic book...

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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:180 pages, 7.5 × 4.2 × 0.38 inPublished:January 26, 2004Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0006391699

ISBN - 13:9780006391692

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

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