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SKATEFATE by Juan Felipe Herrera


by Juan Felipe Herrera

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-143287-3
Publisher: Rayo/HarperCollins

Short diary entries and a series of confident, colorful poems introduce readers to Lucky, a wheelchair-bound former skater and drag racer who became paralyzed after a car accident. Despite the fact that Lucky is now in foster care after losing both his parents (one to Iraq War–induced post traumatic stress syndrome, one to breast cancer), he maintains a sunny outlook as evidenced by his mostly upbeat poetry. Some readers will enjoy Herrera’s lyrical poems, full of strong images and stop-and-go rhythms (“on the gnarled foot so it will turn into a swan / on the hurt breast so that every beat of the heart / writes a new word for love”), while those looking for the story of a skateboarder that the title and cover promises may come away disappointed. The very brief prose sections don't provide enough detail to put the often nonsensical poetry into context. The result is a mixed bag that doesn’t quite work as a narrative or a story in verse. Only one thing is certain—readers expecting a skating account are in for a wipeout. (Poetry. 12 & up)