Reviews and awards

Betting Game coverBetting Game

Featured in Best Books for Kids & Teens – Spring 2016 by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“Orca’s excellent and long-running sports fiction series. In Betting Game, Jack, a star soccer player, finds himself mixed up in an illegal betting scheme, with the trust of his brother and his teammates on the line. Tight and authentic sports action combined with engaging characters make this title great for sports fans as well as readers who enjoy action and drama.” School Library Journal

“A fast paced, entertaining read that will really appeal to all soccer players, both boys and girls, especially those struggling to sustain a reading habit. This book can’t be put down. The soccer scenes are action packed. The boys’ references to world renowned soccer players will engage readers while the emotional pressure to get along on a team will resonate with all athletes.” Resource Links 

“A very compelling story with interesting characters that kept this reader wanting to read more. O’Connor deals with topics that would be well worth discussing with almost any teen: the value of team-work; honesty; and ethics. I will certainly include Betting Game in our curriculum resource collection and would recommend it for other school libraries as well. Highly Recommended.” CM Magazine

“The fast-paced writing has enough soccer action to keep reluctant readers turning the pages, and the gambling intrigue, along with a side plot involving a new player on Jack’s team, adds to the increasing conflict…The tone, dialogue, and emotional stakes ring true. A solid pick for hi-lo sports fiction.” Booklist 

“O’Connor will keep the game’s fans close with plenty of in-the-know soccer patter, but she will also draw other readers with the story of Jack’s slow absorption into a gambling…Hard-hitting…and as memorable as a prison tour for young men who think crime is a sport and a joke.” Kirkus Reviews

“Heather M. O’Connor has no trouble grabbing the reader’s attention with a fast-paced, action-filled story. Betting Game easily captivated my interest with its action and suspense and honest teen characters… the kind of read that will grip both sports fans and reluctant readers. The story wins the reader over fully with its gripping story line and its winning ending. That just goes to show that you can’t always bet on how things are going to turn out, whether it be a game, life or a book.” CanLit for LittleCanadians

cover image“Buried in the Green” – Urban Green Man

Shortlisted for the 2014 Prix Aurora Prize

“‘Buried in the Green’ by Heather M. O’Connor reminded me of the Joan Aiken stories I grew up reading: a little macabre, a bit wistful, wryly humorous.” Nameless Zine

“The stories in this collection explore the lighter and darker shades of green, bringing the reader both into the dark places of the forest where fear and danger evoke speculation and to the treetops where flights of fancy free him or her from their bounds.” Speculating Canada

“This thoughtful collection of 31 stories and poems —with an introduction by acclaimed fantasist Charles de Lint—updates the Green Man myth for a far less green world. Here the legendary spirit of raw life force and protector of the forest takes on diverse roles, from nurturer to avenger and from lover to nemesis. Pagan readers and urban fantasy fans, especially young adults, will enjoy this look at timeless themes of balance and wildness.” Publishers Weekly

“An interesting anthology of wide-ranging stories that do not fall into the usual categories of straight horror or fantasy. Urban Green Man should appeal to the reader in search of something just a little bit different, and perhaps thoughtful. Recommended.” CM Magazine