Available at bookshops nationwide.
Finally, a young adult book written with boys in mind that isn’t about trolls, gnomes, monsters or some magical geek in a purple robe.
Set in the very real, very accessible Hawkes Bay, Waipukerau native Aaron Toop has created a very believable story about growing pains set around a mountain biking adventure, with a bit of dirt, a bit of tumble and a few scratches thrown in for good measure. That’s the claim of the publisher, Mary Egan. And I’d have to agree.
The main character, Cody Harrington, has had a bit of a hard time of late – stuff not going his way, people blaming him when he’s not to blame, that kind of thing. A universal plot set up, and, yes, standard fodder of every Disney film. First, he’s being blamed for not locking the door at the bike shop and letting in a burglar. Then, there’s his unpredictable brother, Zane, who gives his brother $500 from his gambling receipts to buy the bike of his dreams. But Cody is disgusted with where the money comes from.
Girls don’t exist in his world, peer pressure and rugby louts run interference constantly. It’s only when he’s flying down bush-lined tracks and hitting stunts that Cody can feel truly free. But then cupid’s arrow hits its mark and that all changes. But can a huckster (an ‘industry’ word for a rider) ever really change? Will he spend the ‘illegal’ money? Will he get the girl?
I was a little unsure if this would work. But the fast paced, clinical, almost journalistic approach, which often works like a sports commentary, seems to deliver. It’s an engrossing story, with all the adolescent awkwardness, lows and highs you’d expect. And, of course there’s that essential realisation that if you want to really make it, sometimes you have to let go of everything to find out who you are.
Overall, a good story for older boys, if slightly contrived here and there. There’s plenty of spills and thrills along the way. It would make a great Disney movie, but, secretly, I hope they don’t.
Reviewed by Tim Gruar
Hucking Cody : A Tale of Betrayal, Jealousy, Brotherly Love and Free-riding
by Aaron Topp
Published by Mary Egan Publishing