Tuesday, March 26, 2013

VERTICAL by Janet Eoff Berend

The only place Josh wants to be is on his skateboard.  He loves the freedom and the challenge of skating and doing tricks.  Unfortunately, just like most of us, the rest of life sometimes gets in the way.

Author Janet Eoff Berend captures the spirit of skateboarding as well as the angst of the teen experience.  Josh is struggling with issues faced by many teens making VERTICAL a sure success with teen readers even if skateboarding isn't their thing.

Since Josh's main interest is skateboarding, his schoolwork is suffering.  His parents are insisting that he attend math tutoring sessionS several times a week, and if his grades don't improve, his skating time is in jeopardy.  Josh's buddy Brendon is also having grade troubles, but his solution is to dropout and choose an alternative school for his education.  Brendon also disappoints Josh by hanging with some delinquent skaters.

Josh has another problem.  Recently, he witnessed one of Brendon's new friends stealing a wallet and several other items from a parked car.  Josh knows what happens to a 'rat', but he is torn about whether or not to report the crime.  The secret is eating away at him knowing that reporting the crime is the right thing to do, but that it could also make his life miserable.

Non-stop skateboard action combined with Josh's problems create plenty of excitement and plot twists.  It is obvious that Berend has used her experiences as a high school teacher to get in touch with just what interests teens and has used it to create a great read in VERTICAL.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

Oooh. I've got to read this one rightaway! So few books about skateboarding!