Two boys with a lot more in common than they believe

bleak boy and hunterTITLE = BLEAKBOY and HUNTER STAND OUT in the RAIN

AUTHOR = STEVEN HERRICK

GENRE = FAMILIES, SCHOOL, BULLYING, ENVIRONMENT 

INTEREST LEVEL = YEAR 7

This book is about 2 boys who think they are very different from each other but in fact have a lot in common. Jesse’s family likes to be self-sufficient: they grow their own food (as much as possible), make (and repair) their own clothes and his folks tell awful jokes. Hunter is Jesse’s worst nightmare: the school bully. Yet when we first meet Hunter he just seems like a boy who cares for his Mum, who is a bit sad and lonely since Hunter’s dad left them. This is the kind side of Hunter which he doesn’t reveal at school; at school he calls people names, does his best to get out of class and is often in trouble.

Hunter assumes that Jesse (whom he calls BleakBoy) is a goody two shoes who would never do anything wrong … yet Jesse has stolen his father’s credit card, is caught smoking at school and has 2 detentions in as many days … what exactly is going on? Has Jesse truly become BadBoy? Meanwhile Hunter has offered to help Jesse and his friend, Kate, help save the whales … has Hunter become GoodBoy?

A story with a lot of heart and a lot of humour … and a very satisfying ending.

Recommended (dma) ****

A road trip …. and missing dads

the pull of gravity TITLE = THE PULL OF GRAVITY

AUTHOR = GAE POLISNER

GENRE = FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY, ROAD TRIP, GRIEF

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9+

Nick’s best friend (Scoot) has an aging disease. He might be 16 yo but his body thinks he is a small, old man. Whilst most teens are thinking about their first date, Scoot has to battle heart failure and weak limbs. He is all too aware that he is dying.

So when Scoot’s other best friend, Jaycee, decides to fulfil Scoot’s dying wish (to find his father) how can Nick refuse to help her?? Even if it means a road trip with a girl he barely knows and doesn’t really understand. And while they look for Scoot’s dad, what about Nick’s own dad who has taken off own his own road trip to NY.

Absent fathers and friendship are at the heart of this book. Nick not only learns a lot about Jaycee, he also learns a lot about himself and how to deal with tough times and unplanned events. This book is gently paced, with credible and interesting characters. For those readers with a literary bent, references to Steinbeck’s classic “Of Mice and  Men” will be of interest while others might revel in the frequent mention of Star Wars movies and Yoda’s quotes.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

 

A moving story about a girl caught in a family split

TITLE = MOTHER’S DAY

AUTHOR = ANNE BROOKSBANK

GENRE = FAMILY, DIVORCE, GROWING UP

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-9

Molly has lived with her dad and his second wife, Ro, for as long as she can remember and she feels happy and comfortable in their lakeside home. And she dearly loves her step-brother, Locky. But she is aware that all is not going well for her dad and Ro … they seem to be constantly bickering .. and maybe Locky doesn’t love her as much as she thought?

So when her long distant mother makes a reappearance in her life, Molly is ready to get to know her better … maybe even ready to move in with her mum and grandmother, even if this means being miles away from Dad and Locky.

But what if she changes her mind? jhat if her dad changes his mind too and wants to fight to have her back  … will lawyers and courts get between Molly and a happy future? Is there a chance for happiness when divorce and remarriage has changed her family so much??

This is a sensitive and credible story about the difficulties sometimes faced by youngsters caught between parents who no longer love each other… how do you decide who to live with and can you still love both parents when they don’t love each other? Molly’s story is often touching and heartfelt and it has a satisfying outcome.

And if you enjoy reading this book you might like to read “Father’s Day” and “Big Thursday” written by the same author and set amongst the same group of friends – looking at other teens (this time boys) who are caught in awkward family arrangements too.

Highly Recommended (dma) ****