22 January 2015

Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain

I confess to being a big fan of award-winning author, Steven Herrick’s work. Each book is a gift to unwrap; a journey into something fresh and unusual. His characters are creative works of art. It is these creations that carry this character driven story.

Hunter and Jesse James Jones, aka Bleakboy, are total opposites, both eleven years old, and the leading characters in a cast with powerful voices.

Hunter is a rebel; a misfit on purpose. There is more to him than is visible hidden behind the mask of a bully. He struggles with his father’s leaving him with nothing but broken promises.

Always positive, Jesse is trying to fit into a new school. His imaginary friend is a poster of a Christ-like figure that hangs on his wall that he talks to, and asks advice from. With strong ethics and a belief in social justice, Jesse wants to right wrongs, feed the starving children in Africa, and share what he has with the less fortunate. That’s where his dad’s credit card comes in. He tries to be good, but always ends up a victim of circumstance. He meets Kate who recognizes the beauty in him.

The confused and isolated Hunter meets Les, a widower in a mobility scooter and they become friends. His life shifts in small increments as the friendship evolves. Small changes are the most important thing in both boys’ lives throughout the book.

Brilliant and thought-provoking, Herrick addresses issues that most young people struggle with today. Environmental issues, themes of loneliness, the grief of loss and ageing, and coming to terms with change and more, are plaited into the simple storyline of two boys trying to make it through adolescence, and the lessons they learn along the way.

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Title: Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain
Author: Steven Herrick
Publisher: UQP
Publication Date: May 2014 $14.99RRP
 Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780702250163
Type:  Middle Fiction

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