HACKETT, Dave The Summer of Kicks UQP, 2014 279pp $19.95 pbk ISBN 9780702253362 SCIS 1678626
Starrphyre is a sixteen years old who dreams of making the beautiful and popular Candace McAllister his girlfriend. In an effort to impress Candace he decides to form a band with school friends, however, they have no real musical talent and spend most of their time arguing over the best name for the group. In the meantime Starrphyre finds a job working in a music store where he meets Ellie with whom he starts to form a close friendship. Complications arise when Starrphyre finally gets to kiss Candace after denying that there is anyone special in his life and Ellie learns of his betrayal. Between the demands of his mates and job, the tangle of relationships within his family, the death of his grandmother and the problems with his female friends, Starrphyre’s life is in turmoil, but he manages to find his way to a happy resolution to all his difficulties.
Set in Noosa, Kicks deals with issues that are relevant to contemporary Australian youth with humour and insight. Hackett has demonstrated a thorough grasp of teenage culture and has convincingly captured the emotional tumult of teenage boy/girl relationships. While Starrphyre is an often confused, sensitive and ‘infatuated dork’, he is a likable and endearing character. Kicks is recommended as a fun and engaging text that light heartedly explores thought-provoking topics for lower to middle secondary readers.
reviewed by John Nolan