Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 13
- Grade: 4 to 8
- Reading age: 7 to 10
Jordy Lee and his friends spend all their free time on their skateboards, navigating the crowded streets of Toronto's Kensington Market. They're thrilled when a new skateboarding park opens and offers a youth competition with a rich prize. The talented Alisha might be able to coach Jordy to a win, but what will his friends think about Jordy getting advice from a cute girl?
About the author
Steven Barwin is a middle school teacher. He is the author of Hurricane Heat in the Orca Sport series and several Lorimer Sports Stories novels, including Fadeaway, Rock Dogs, SK8ER and Icebreaker, which was chosen as a Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens selection.
Jordy Lee loves skateboarding, and, despite his parents' disapproval, he spends every possible moment out with his friends cruising around the Kensington Market district in Toronto. Jordy's family owns a fruit and vegetable market, and, although Jordy doesn't have responsibilities in the busy store, he is expected to look after his younger brother in the evenings. He feels very detached from his much-younger brother and resents this duty, barely engaging with him when they are together.
Out on the street, Jordy feels at home. He and his friends encourage each other and push themselves to perform more difficult tricks. Their territory is limited to the area around the busy market until the much anticipated new skateboard park is finished construction. After reading about a competition that is planned as part of the park's opening week celebrations, the boys all dream of winning the prize money and buying new skate gear. Jordy feels his dilapidated board is holding back from being a great skater, and so he sets his sights on winning.
Murph, Jordy's best friend, is often the brunt of the others' jokes, and he looks to Jordy for support. After Jordy literally bumps into Alisha at the new park, she offers to help him with his riding, and so he starts spending time with her. Confused by new feelings for Alisha and being loyal to his friend Murph, Jordy handles the situation badly and effectively drops his old buddies. Murph is especially is confused and hurt by Jordy's actions.
This coming of age story touches on the difficulties that young people can have when forming new relationships and responding to the changing behaviour of their friends. Barwin has used the backdrop of kids who love to skateboard in inner city Toronto to highlight the issue of changing friendships and the subsequent wrestling of shifting loyalties between friends and family. Readers will be able to relate to Jordy's struggles. They will cheer his successes and be content with the satisfying conclusion. Although the issue of first crushes may be enjoyed by a slightly older audience, the cover illustration and spelling of the title are not ones that would attract an older reader.
Steven Barwin previous "Sports Stories" novels, Slam Dunk and Roller Hockey Blues, both were Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice selections. Barwin has also written for television shows such as Royal Canadian Air Farce and Street Cents as well as for the NASCAR and World Wrestling DVD board games.
Canadian Review of Materials - Vol XIV, No. 16
"Barwin has used the backdrop of kids who love to skateboard in inner city Toronto to highlight the issue of changing friendships and the subsequent wrestling of shifting loyalties between friends and family. Readers will be able to relate to Jordy's struggles. They will cheer his successes and be content with the satisfying conclusion."
Canadian Review of Materials, Volume XIV, No. 16