I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Kick by Ross Workman, Walter Dean Myers
Also by this author: Monster, Carmen, All the Right Stuff, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Juba!, Monster: A Graphic Novel
Published by HarperCollins on 2011-02-01
Genres: Adolescence, Social Issues, Sports & Recreation, Young Adult
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For the very first time in his decades-long career writing for teens, acclaimed and beloved author Walter Dean Myers writes with a teen, Ross Workman.Kevin Johnson is thirteen years old. And heading for juvie. He's a good kid, a great friend, and a star striker for his Highland, New Jersey, soccer team. His team is competing for the State Cup, and he wants to prove he has more than just star-player potential. Kevin's never been in any serious trouble . . . until the night he ends up in jail. Enter Sergeant Brown, a cop assigned to be Kevin's mentor. If Kevin and Brown can learn to trust each other, they might be able to turn things around before it's too late.
Kick is a very brief story about soccer and a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. In collaboration with an actual young adult, Ross Workman, Walter Dean Myers has co-authored a story which is sure to be a hit with the athletic, male reluctant reader set.
Kevin, a kid from a good family makes a big mistake. He is caught driving his friend Cristina’s dad’s car. He’s not 16, FYI. Now, because Kevin’s dead dad was a cop he gets off pretty easy and is paired with Officer Jerry Brown who mentors him and tries to find out the real reason Kevin was driving the car. Interwoven with this is Kevin’s experience on the soccer field, trying to win the state tournaments.
The chapters alternate between Kevin’s point of view and Sergent Brown’s point of view. Kevin, the teenager, was written by Ross Workman. Sergent Brown was written by Walter Dean Myers. Honestly, I liked Kevin’s chapters better. I felt they rang a bit more authentic. I mean, Kevin has normal kid concerns, anger, and such. Whereas Sergent Brown’s chapters came across as cliche. I mean, he’s got cholesterol or something, so he is always going on and on about food. Then he’s all well Kevin is a good kid, I just need to crack his shell. And it’s a whole lot of telling instead of showing.
Plus, one aspect just completely rubbed me the wrong way. We find out one of the characters in the novel beats his wife, right. So, yes he is a bad guy for the time being. THEN we find out that he beats her because she is depressed, like severely and it seems like he doesn’t know how to handle her emotions, so he hits her. And of course, when they find help for the wife, that’s it. No other mention made of the guy beating his wife and it basically seems like it is excused. And I hate to be a nagging Nellie, but honestly, I really think domestic violence needs to be condemned and not just something that goes away with the wave of a hand. However, that is my soap box and it may not be yours, which is fine.
That said, Kick is pretty short, like 96 pages of story because the first 10 pages are emails exchanged between Workman and Myers. It didn’t quite work for me, length being a key factor. I would have liked a bit more meat and a bit more depth. However, I do think this can work for middle school boys who just want a good story and like soccer.
Disclosure: Received for Review via Netgalley.
You can read my review of Monster by Walter Dean Myers here.