A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This is a good pick for reluctant readers, who may want to check out all four books in the action-packed series. Also, readers get great background on skateboarding techniques and terms.
There is a hopeful message here about redemption. Slider has a hard life and is failing in school, but he is able to turn his life around when he makes a good choice to help his friends when they are in trouble.
Positive Role Models
Slider is a skateboarding 14 year-old who cuts class and shoots spitballs at his teacher, but what is important is that when given a choice, he chooses to do good and help his friends. There are other good role models as well, including Case, a police detective, who is kind and helpful to Slider. He gives Slider a much-needed shoulder to cry upon. His best friend Juliet is portrayed as a smart, strong teenage girl, and his foster brother -- who has committed some petty crimes and theft -- looks out for Slider and protects him.
Violence & Scariness
This book features kidnapping, fighting, a skateboard versus truck chase scene around New York City, and some threatening bullies. But this reads like a video game and tweens won't find the violence disturbing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Slider and his best friend, Juliet, lightly flirt with each other and have a first kiss at the end of the book.
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Slider uses "crap" when talking to himself. He hits the bad guy with his skateboard in the "crotch," hurting his "family jewels."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book is part of a series and a good pick for reluctant readers. Although Slider isn't an angel, when given a choice, he chooses to do good and help his friends. This book does feature kids who goof-off in class and cut school, and there are some fights, crimes (including a kidnapping), and other violence. But in the end, this action-packed story shows a kid who uses his skills to redeem himself and make a difference.
Is It Any Good?
This easy-to-read novel with an exciting graphic novel insert will appeal to many teens, particularly boys who may not like reading but like action, adventure, sci-fi, and skateboarding. Readers will find it easy to root for Slider, a 14-year-old bumped from one foster home to another, and they will appreciate the lesson here as he finds the inner strength to help others.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.