What's in it for Me? - Summer is only a month away, but things aren't going according to plan for fifteen-year-old Nick Bannerman. Nick dreams of making it big in music, and summer means scoring a deal for his band, mega parties, surfing in Tofino--and not much else. His best friend, Trevor, wants him to spend the summer with him in Africa building a school with a changemaker organization, but Nick isn't at all interested. Unlike Trevor, Nick has no interest in global activism, volunteering, or physical labour. So how does a teen like Nick, intent on being a famous rock star, end up in Thailand volunteering at an elephant refuge?
Meanwhile, in glimpses from Africa, Trevor learns about Kenyan culture and language from twelve-year-old local boy, Kito, and encounters child soldiers who threaten the young boy's family.
Back at the refuge, Nick meets sixteen-year-old Camila, an intimidating and self-assured local girl who wants to be a mahout, even though local tradition won't allow it. When Nick encounters an extreme animal rights activist, drugged tigers, and rampaging elephants, will he have the courage to act and care about more than just himself?
With themes of: elephants, global activism, animal rights and welfare, social activism, volunteering, feminism and female empowerment, coming of age, and the complex and controversial topic of elephant captivity, What's in it for Me? is an excellent middle-grade novel to spark classroom discussions.
"What's In It For Me will be a hit with animal lovers and those who love adventures. This fascinating glimpse into the world of elephant sanctuaries and international volunteering is also a delightful tale about the unexpected friendships that can happen when we are doing good things in the world. LS Stone's debut novel is a treat." ."Susan Juby , award-winning author, The Woefield Poultry Collective and The Truth Commission
"A fascinating story that will entrance young readers from the first page to the last. I couldn't put it down. From a glimpse into the disturbing world of Kenyan's child soldiers to the heart-warming workings of a Thai elephant rescue centre, Stone weaves a coming-of-age-story like no other."-Julie Burtinshaw, award-winning author, Saying Goodbye to London
"I felt transported with Nick and Camila to beautiful Thailand for this fun and exciting elephant adventure that had me grinning in delight or transfixed on the edge of my seat. LS Stone's writing is full of humour, but doesn't shy away from shining a light on complicated topics like elephant captivity and tourism, and female rights and empowerment. A mesmerizing first novel for LS Stone." Chantal Hughes, author/contributor, Breaking Boundaries: LGBTQ2 Writers on Coming Out and Into Canada
"What's in it for Me? is a perfect fit for entertaining young readers while introducing them to important topics of animal welfare, social justice, and global activism. I also really appreciated the depiction of Camila, the strong, self-assured female character. Once I started reading, I didn't want to put the book down!" Lisa King, Teacher -Librarian
"Author L S Stone's first novel, What's in it for Me?, contains those elements of a captivating story that not only make it fun and exciting to read but leaves the reader thinking about it afterwards. Stone provides an interesting variety of characters with traits and personalities the young adult reader can relate to. The characterizations add humour and drama to the story. The duo voice storytelling, with the insertion of text messages between Nick and Trevor, adds interest and different perspectives. The author's knowledge of global and social issues particularly involving elephant sanctuaries is presented in a manner that encourages the reader to become more informed about them. Young adult readers will be quickly drawn into this exciting adventure. Starting at the fourth chapter, the narrative alternates between Trevor's and Nick's voice. This device allows readers to experience different aspects of global and social activism, animal welfare, volunteerism and leadership training. While helping to build a school in Kenya, Trevor encounters the problems of contaminated drinking water, extreme poverty, lack of education opportunities and child soldiers. In Thailand, Nick is faced not only with the demands of hard work at the elephant refuge but also encounters with an animal rights activist and rampaging elephants. The book's title, What's in it for ME? (emphasis added) captures how powerful a firsthand experience can be in a person's life.What's in it for Me? is an entertaining and captivating book for young adults. The combination of readers' sitting on the edge of their seats and smiling at the humourous antics of the characters keeps the momentum of the story. Finally, the vivid depiction of the elephants is fascinating.Highly Recommended-Canadian Review of Materials