Tate’s crew are all skateboarders, but it’s his little brother Indy who has the talent—and also a taste for drugs and rebelling against their straight-laced dad.
In their neighborhood, Tate has learned to use his fists and let his anger fly when he sees injustice. But he doesn’t do drugs—not since the overdose death of fellow border Cutter, likely a suicide, one year ago. Devastated by the loss, Tate has aligned with his father, but he frantically worries about his brother when their father throws him out. The inflexible father, the call of drug-induced numbness and the evil of the dealer: They have all been done before, along with the antihero who fights for justice against all odds. What distinguishes this take is the skateboarding, the tricks and competition, as well as the camaraderie. Throw in a little romance, swearing, fistfights and some skanky sex scenes, plus a few adults whose dedication to the well-being of teens shines through, and you’ve got a book that pulls through despite its clichés. Action centers around the Monster, “the biggest, deepest, craziest skate bowl in Spokane, and the state of Washington for that matter.”
While the swearing, sex and drug use proclaim this an issues book for older teens, the heart is very much in the after-school-special camp, with a satisfying resolution never in doubt. (Fiction. 14-18)