At 15, Dylan is struggling. He's struggling with his explosive acne that has declared war on his face, struggling with his pushy younger sister, struggling with his nagging mum and her lame and misguided attempts to 'connect' with him, struggling with his dad who never seems to have time for him anymore, struggling with his retarded old phone-me-down courtesy of Hamish Banning pushing him and his iPhone off Jump Rock into the harbour, and he's struggling with his constant preoccupation with sex combined with his complete inability to attract any girl. Struggling, but surviving.
But when his English teacher reads out Dylan's creative writing piece to the class, revealing him to be a sensitive and perhaps promising writer (though in some classmates' opinion, pretty gay), it sets off a chain of events, including unlikely interest from a few hot girls and a viscous physical and verbal bullying attack, which sends Dylan on a frantic roller coaster of emotions culminating in a revelation that could make or break his survival.
I saw this book in BIG W the other day, and after reading the blurb I felt like it was something I could really relate to. And it was on so many levels. Basically, this story is a classic case of high school bullying. Except for once, it’s a boy being bullied. I feel like this is important because often you read books about girls being bullied, but rarely do you see from the boy’s perspective. Being from the boy’s perspective, you also get to see a different side to bullying. This may be stereotypical of me to say, but boys often don’t let their feelings out, or more likely they aren’t given the opportunity to do so. This is shown all throughout the book and it really made me feel for Dylan. So many times he wanted to talk about what was happening to him at school, or at home, and every time he was either told he had to be tough as he was a man, or he felt like his problems weren’t valid.
I really connected to Dylan in this story. Many of the issues he faced were things I had personally experienced in high school, so for me this was very relatable. I do feel like this book is geared more towards boys than girls as it definitely goes into detail about “boy things”. Having said that, I think it is very eye opening and therefore, girls would benefit from reading this book too.
Now, yes I do think this book is important, and yes I think many young people should read it. However, I did feel like the plot was quite flat. Nothing really exciting happened to keep me completely interested in the story, and I can’t really see many boys being interested in reading it because of that. I feel like that is probably sexist, but it’s true. There was no big plot twist, it was just a plain story about a 15 year old kid.
There’s not much else I can add without repeating myself, giving away plot points or making this review way too long (seriously I have so much I could say about this but I don't want to bore you all to tears). This book deals with some sensitive issues, that aren’t commonly spoken about. I think this would be a good book for high school health class in year 9 or 10, particularly for boys as this book addresses all of the issues that they would be facing in that time of their lives. So overall, I do recommend this. I probably would recommend this to more boys than girls, but since the majority of my readers are girls between the ages of 18-24 I am not sure this book would be what you’re looking for. But if you know a young boy who might be dealing with bullying, or have any issues I highly suggest you recommend them this book.
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Published: June, 2016
Format: Paperback, 238pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contempoary
Acquired from: BIG W
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