Lockie Leonard, hot surf-rat, is in love. The human torpedo is barely settled into his new school, and already he's got a girl on his mind. And not just any girl: it has to be Vicki Streeton, the smartest, prettiest, richest girl in class.
What chance have you got when your dad's a cop, your mum's a frighteningly understanding parent, your brother wets the bed and the teachers take an instant dislike to you and then you fall in love at twelve-and-three-quarter years old?
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Grade 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
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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