Book Review

Book Review : Kick by Walter Dean Myers & Ross Workman.

Can one impulsive action land Kevin Johnson in juvie?

Thirteen-year-old Kevin lives in a middle-class suburban town with his mother and abuela. His father, a policeman, was killed recently in the line of duty. Kevin’s a good kid. In the throes of soccer season, he’s focused on helping his team qualify for the semi-finals and proving to his coach he has more than just star player potential. He’s never been in trouble.

Until the night he’s pulled over on the side of the highway with his best friend, Christy, driving her dad’s car. When she begs him not to give anything up to the cops, Kevin keeps his mouth shut. It’s not until the next morning – after he’s spent the night in jail – that he finds out he’s a felon, facing charges of Grand Larceny and kidnapping.

Sgt. Brown, a cop near retirement, agrees to participate in a new mentoring program for teens. A thirteen-year-old felon, though, is way more than he signed on for. But as soon as he meets Kevin, he can tell there’s something Kevin and Christy are hiding.

What really happened that night?

If Kevin and Sgt. Brown can trust each other, they might be able to figure it out–and turn things around before it’s too late.

Walter Dean Myers has been writing young adult books for years, this one was a bit of a change for him as he teamed up with Ross Workman, a teenage fan, to cowrite the book. The first few pages of the book include a selection of the emails exchanged between the pair, from the initial idea to write together right through to getting the news that it was going to be published. I found these a very endearing read particularly the advice given by Myers to Workman during the writing process.

The plot is fairly straight forward, the well meaning cop trying to get a former colleague’s son back on the straight and narrow. The narration swaps between Kevin and Sgt. Brown with each chapter, I really liked this – it was nice getting to see situations from both of their perspectives. Alongside the main plot of Kevin facing the prospect of juvie and Sgt. Brown trying to help him improve his situation is the soccer plot following Kevin’s team’s efforts in the State Cup. The plots are fairly simple and for my taste the main plotline is resolved a little too simply.

I found Kevin quite hard to engage with at times, I think however that this is the sign of him being well written. The decisions teenage boys make often puzzle me and Kevin was certainly no different.

Overall I enjoyed this book and am quite inspired by the story of how it came to be.

“Kick” is published in hardback by HarperTeen books in the UK priced £10.71 from February 2011. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book via all of the opinions expressed are my own.

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