Thursday, May 13, 2010

10. On The Rocks Teens and Alcohol

Arletha, David. On The Rocks Teens and Alcohol. ISBN: 978-0531179765. Children's Press. First Edition, 2007.

Critical Evaluation
Author David Aretha's non fiction title On The Rocks explores the terrible problem of alcohol abuse by American teenagers. Aretha explores the topic of alcohol abuse by giving readers a complete overview of the subject. He begins On The Rocks by detailing the early history of alcohol in America and proceeds to discuss the problems that it poses for teenagers and society today. This useful teen resource is divided into six chapters which discuss relevant topics, including: youth alcoholism, binge drinking, drinking and society, and support groups and treatment options. Aretha explores these topics through the use of sobering statistics, quotes from teenage substance abusers, and brief informative passages in each chapter. The statistics presented are often shocking, for example, 40% of all traffic related deaths are the result of alcohol use. Alcohol abuse in America is not a new phenomena, by the year 1800 there were already over 2,000 breweries in America. Statistics like these help to open the eyes of teen readers as to the history and severity of substance abuse in our country.

Aretha also helps to define specific alcohol abuse terminology for teen readers by using a larger and more bold font to highlight specific vocabulary words. These terms are later defined in a detailed glossary at the conclusion of the title. Not only are important terms defined, but Aretha also makes sure to instruct readers about the differences between terms. For many teens alcoholism and alcohol abuse may be viewed as one in the same, but Aretha makes sure to clarify misconceptions like this in On The Rocks. Graphically, On The Rocks is very pleasing to the scrutinizing eye. The use of simple fonts, aged photo effects, and the scrap book style of presentation, complete with faux scotch tape, creates an invisible sense of unity that ties the work together. The important facts and statistics scream to be heard with almost graffiti-like fonts attached to their strewn sentences.

Aretha explains to readers about the hazards of drinking and how to spot signs of depression, suicide, and other risky behavior. The simple look and even easier to understand passages, make reading On The Rocks an undaunting task for reluctant readers. On The Rocks presents just the right amount of factual information and statistics to keep reader interest. For a nonfiction title, Aretha does a great job of trying to make the subject matter as interesting as possible. Teens will appreciate the time and consideration made to get actual teens to voice their opinions on the problem of alcohol abuse in America. A brief overview of the problem might be just enough of a push to get teens involved with making a difference in programs like AA, MADD, and SADD.

Reader's Annotation
For teens interesting in learning more about alcohol use, abuse, and treatment, author David Aretha's On The Rocks is here to help. With sobering statistics, real abuser stories, and comprehensive information on all aspects of alcoholism, readers are informed about a very threatening problem for American teens.

Author Information
David Aretha is a graduate of the University of Michigan, who works as a regular editor on both sports and history books. He has also written several other books about substance abuse, including books on cocaine, party drugs, and steroids.

nonfiction, substance abuse

Curriculum Ties
alcoholism, teenage drinking

Book Talking Ideas
Why do you think American teens have a greater binge drinking problem than teens in European countries?
Do you think that the drinking age should be lowered to 18?

Reading Level
Grades 7+

Challenge Issues

Reason For Selection
A blog about materials for teens wouldn't be complete without a book about alcohol use and abuse. For teens struggling with alcohol abuse, or for teens living family abusers, this guide will help them understand their options for treatment, as well as why the problem exists and persists.

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