Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Moving to Australia's East Coast from Perth makes 14-year-old Lockie an outsider and a city boy--an identity worsened by the fact that his father is a cop and the family lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Still, between smart-mouthing in school, thrashing the waves on his surfboard and having the popular Vicki Streeton as a girlfriend, Lockie soon establishes his place in town. It's a difficult time: sexual stirrings begin perplexing Lockie, and Vicki seems to be confusing love with precocious sex. The boy is also faced with other, more universal concerns, such as the depletion of the ozone, nuclear weapons and world peace. While trendy brand names, pop artists and television programs will date this first novel, Lockie's successes with the business of life have the solid ring of truth. Winton's dry, typically Down Under wit and his use of alien, sometimes challenging Australian slang should charm young readers on this side of the equator. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 6-9-- Shortly before he enters high school, Lockie Leonard and his family move from Perth to a small town along the Australian coast. His first weeks in his new school are disastrous, and he tries to keep a low profile. On his 14th birthday, he meets Vicki Streeton and falls in love. From then on they are constantly together, and Vicki's popularity rubs off on him. Lockie's love life deteriorates, however, when Vicki drops him for a couple of punks with a van. In a confrontation with them, Lockie gets beaten up when he refuses to fight. Although most of the characters are not fleshed out well (the hero's parents are disgustingly understanding at all times), the main problem with this novel is its excessive use of Australian slang. An early incident is largely incomprehensible because of the language, and Lockie's woodworking teacher literally throws him out for making a seemingly innocent remark with an apparent double meaning. In light of the boy's later popularity, the whole scene seems unnecessary. Better Australian novels dealing with YA problems, such as The Heroic Life of Al Capsella (Holt, 1990), are available. --Jo-Anne Weinberg, Greenburgh Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 6-8. Lockie Leonard's life is in turmoil: he and his family have just moved to a small town; he doesn't get on with the students or his teachers; and the only joy in his life comes from surfing and looking at Vicki Streeton. Life changes suddenly when he's elected president of the new Surfers' Club and he and Vicki become an item. When his love life cools, so does his popularity, but as he begins to take charge of his life, he achieves a temporary peace. Lockie is an engaging young teenager experiencing the confusion and changes of adolescence. He claims to know all about sex when his mother attempts to discuss it with him but is embarrassed when he has a wet dream and perplexed when he and Vicki begin a more intimate relationship. With a normal family and supportive, understanding parents, Lockie survives turning 14 with a sense of humor and a bit of philosophy. Set in Australia, Winton's light romance contains expressions and names that may be unfamiliar or confusing to some readers. ~--Karen Hutt
Horn Book Review
Lockie Leonard and his family move to a new town just in time for Lockie to begin high school. Things start out poorly but change rapidly when he is catapulted to a status position by his ability to surf. This first novel is full of life and humor; the writing is fast paced and peppered with slang. From HORN BOOK 1992, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
A slapstick coming-of-age story set in a small Australian town. For his 14th birthday, Lockie gets not only a neoprene vest to keep him warm while he's surfing but also a sudden steady- -Vicki Streeton--rich, bright, and beautiful. Lockie revels in the new-found popularity this social connection brings him, while eagerly exploring both Vicki's body and the changes within himself--until it dawns on him that Vicki's emotional waters are rather shallow; as he puts it, ``I don't know anything about sex, and you don't know anything about love.'' Lockie rides the waves like a pro but he's a klutz on dry land, so there's plenty of physical comedy here, augmented by nearly impenetrable slang (``There were big kids who were better, but among the grommets Lockie ripped''). The cast is full of intriguing characters, particularly Lockie's well-read, pacifistic father, a police officer. Lockie is part of a recent crop of teenage protagonists who are willing to take some time growing up; fortunately, the author doesn't burden his lighthearted story with messages. (Fiction. YA)