Nick’s life comes to an abrupt turning point following a surfing accident.
When the wave Nick was surfing—of the type ominously called a ledge for its dangerous nature—rolls on top of him, it sends his body crashing onto a rock, and he ends up using a wheelchair for an indefinite period. The prognosis is rather bleak: The active and energetic teen who once exceled at football might never recover the use of his legs….The road to recovery, while laborious and sad—with countless painful sessions of physical therapy and multiple letdowns from a continuously smaller circle of former friends—is also marked with newly found and uplifting friendships: Ahmad, the physical therapist and a Syrian refugee, whose family quickly embraces the paralyzed teen; Ahmad’s teenage cousin O.C., a partial amputee whose anger and irascibility resonate all too familiarly with Nick; Arnie, the drifter who saved Nick’s life by calling 911; and Keira, the goth girl from school who went unnoticed for all these years. The author does a remarkable job of depicting the harsh realities of life-changing trauma, realistically taking readers through the challenging and frustrating times that follow. Carefully chosen, uncomplicated vocabulary doesn’t detract from the depth with which each character is explored, making for an accessible and engaging read. Nick, Keira, and Arnie are assumed to be white.
A realistic exploration of post-trauma life and the power of friendships with appeal for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 12-18)