Sunday, January 16, 2011
Skate by Michael Harmon
(synopsis taken from here)
Kirkus Reviews This remarkable first novel features a rebellious, smart outcast who's battling life as he struggles to take care of his little brother. Their crack-addicted mom has essentially abandoned Ian and Sam. Ian manages to protect Sam, but can't protect himself from an unscrupulous high-school principal who's determined to get Ian out of the school. When Ian loses his temper and decks his coach, he decides to take Sam and flee across the state in an effort to find their long-absent father. Harmon has crafted a tale of compelling suspense-part adolescent psychology and part survival tale-painting sharply clear portraits of his characters, particularly Ian. The result is a sense of strong realism and sympathy for the characters, even when they screw up. Were it shorter it would be perfect for reluctant readers, but surely will appeal to a wide audience. A marvelous debut. (Fiction. YA)
this book was great. i honestly didn't know what to expect--i only bought the book because of it's title, Skate. (i was disappointed to discover that this book had nothing to do with either figure skating or in-line skating...) however, the title actually captures the essence of the book: should Ian stay and face people who will never treat him fairly, or should he give up and run away?
Ian's dilemma had me rooting for him from the start; he's not stupid (in fact, his smart mouth is what often gets him into trouble) but the school principle has it out for Ian. everyone from his family to the teachers at his sports-oriented school is trying to hold Ian back. he has real, in-your-face problems, and he has no one to help him figure out what to do. finally, he does the only thing he can think of: he skates away.
Skate is, ultimately, a story about when to stop skating and face your demons. it was a thought-provoking, deep story that left me feeling satisfied and introspective. it reminds the reader of what's important in life. it was one of those rare reads that i want to recommend to all teenagers and that i think would appeal even to teens who hate reading.
i would highly recommend this book.
my rating: 4.5