Speed Freak is a finalist in the Young Adults category of the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Archie Barrington is fifteen years old, and is preparing for the biggest race tournament of his life. He has been a kart driver since the age of six, and has always loved the thrill of speeding down the track, the roar of the kart and the tension of the race itself. Archie has often dreamed of competing against the best of the best, on the finest racecourses – and this could be his chance.
The Challenge series is about to begin, and the prize is a race in Europe. Archie will be racing against old friends, new enemies, and everyone in between. Craig is desperate to win, and will do anything to beat the other teens. Silver has just returned to racing after a family tragedy, and is infuriating everyone with her wild driving and constant silence.
As the competition ensues, Archie must deal with pressure at home as well – his dad’s girlfriend and her seven-year-old son Felix are moving in. Felix is instantly fascinated by Archie’s karting tournament, and wants to learn to drive too…but his mother isn’t impressed by this at all, and she blames Archie for her son’s dangerous new interest.
While trying to keep an eye on Felix, Archie must push the limits of himself and his kart to beat Craig and come out on top. But when the rules are manipulated, will Archie be able to cope with the pressure on him? One thing is for certain, though – this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity won’t wait for him…Archie is going to have to chase after it at full speed.
Speed Freak is a Young Adult Finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for 2014, and it is exactly the sort of book you might expect from award-winning author Fleur Beale; captivating, honest, and completely unique. This book will be one that I will constantly reread, and Beale certainly has my vote for the Book Awards this year.
Reviewed by Tierney Reardon
by Fleur Beale
Published by Random House NZ