Wednesday, June 23, 2010

OSTRICH BOYS by Keith Gray

OSTRICH BOYS is about friendship and loyalty.  Blake, Sim, and Kenny just lost their best friend, Ross.  Hit by a car while riding his bike, he is gone and they can hardly believe it.

After the boys attend his funeral, they decide the ceremony didn't do their friend justice.  Ross was so much more than a collection of words and hymns.  As a sort of revenge for the fact that he was taken in such unfair circumstances and at an early age, they concoct a plan to honor him in their own way.

Ross always dreamed of visiting a town of the same name, Ross, Scotland.  The three remaining friends "kidnap" Ross's ashes and head to Scotland.  The removal of the funeral urn from Ross's home didn't go as smoothly as planned so their scheme to take a train to Scotland and back in just two days turns into a sort of escape that has Ross's family and the families of the three boys frantic.

Just before leaving Ross's house, his father confronted Blake about the possibility that Ross may have taken his own life by riding his bike into the path of the car.  Blake is shocked by the question, as are Kenny and Sim, but shortly into their journey there is word that they have been on the evening news.  Speculation is that the three boys are part of a suicide pact, and now the hunt is on.

OSTRICH BOYS is filled with action and adventure.  Each boy is unique - Blake is known as the intelligent one, Kenny is the computer whiz and happens to be the bankroll for their trip until he unfortunately forgets his bag while switching trains, and Sim possesses an amazing knowledge of collective nouns that is sure to fascinate and provide remarkably useless information for readers.

Author Keith Gray combines bungee jumping, wild train rides, quirky characters, and the emotional upheaval of losing a close friend to create an incredible tale.  A bit of a slow start might discourage some readers, but if they are encouraged to stick with it, most will find it a rewarding read.

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