Soames on the Range

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Fifteen-year-old Cisco Soames knows he doesn’t come from a normal family. His first name is San Francisco, his younger twin sisters are called Paris and India. All are named after places his hippy parents, Delta and Rocky, visited back in the days when they were young and in love. Which they aren’t anymore—in fact, Cisco’s dad is not only moving out, he’s coming out. And now that Rocky is moving in with another man, this poses certain problems for Cisco, especially with the town bullies. Next thing he knows, Cisco’s been suspended from school for fighting, and now, in the weirdest turn of events yet for a teen who prefers to smash garlic rather than noses—he’s been accused of putting old man Patterson in a coma. To let things “cool down” just a little, Cisco is informed he’s being sent to live with an uncle he’s never met on a Rocky Mountain dude ranch in British Columbia. And the dude is a draft-dodging renegade known as “Uncle Party.” Things couldn’t get any worse, could they?

Smart, contemporary and studded with self-deprecating humour, Soames on the Range is a coming-of-age novel that speaks easily and confidently to adolescent fears and angst about family, friends, sex and, most of all, identity.

It was a family meeting with a real twist. My mother sat on the edge of her seat, legs crossed, flipping her foot up and down. My sisters, India and Paris, ten-year-old twins, slouched in a loveseat by the window, bookends with bad posture.

My father stood in the centre of the room, hands on hips, looking uncharacteristically bleary eyed and unshaven.

Have I mentioned we never have family meetings at my house?

We are not, I should add, the most normal family you’ve ever met. Family meetings are just way too Disney for us. Usually we communicate by shouting.

My name, for the record, is San Francisco Soames. Named after the city. Paris is named after a city too. India got an entire country. These are places my parents travelled to when they were young and in love.

Which they aren’t any more. —from Soames on the Range