Convince Me To Read (7): KOOK by Chris Vick

Posted April 2, 2016 by Dani in Convince Me To Read, Reviews // 1 Comment

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About Convince Me To Read Reviews

While we all have fairly similar tastes, sometimes we need a little push to read a certain book. The Convince Me to Read Review will be a review of the novel plus a section on why we think the other would enjoy it.

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This book was sent for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the book or the content of our review.

Convince Me To Read (7): KOOK by Chris VickKook by Christopher Vick
Published by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks on April 7th 2016
ISBN: 0008158320
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: paperback
Source: Maximum Pop! Books

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A heart-pounding love story that grips like a riptide, and doesn’t let go…

Fifteen-year old Sam has moved from the big city to the coast – stuck there with his mum and sister on the edge of nowhere.

Then he meets beautiful but damaged surfer-girl Jade. Soon he’s in love with her, and with surfing itself. But Jade is driven by an obsession: finding and riding a legendary huge wave no one has ever ridden.

As the weeks wear on, their relationship barrels forward with the force of a deep-water wave – into a storm, to danger … and to heartbreak.

Dani’s review

KOOK is a coming of age story like no other. Sam, brainy and pale, moves to Cornwall with his mother and half-sister from London, where he meets the beautiful force that is Jade. Jade introduces him to the ocean and her surfer friends, and the trouble starts from day one. Sam is drawn to the same waters that claimed his father ten years before, and they might just get him, too.

This book had me so fuming mad that I couldn’t read it in one sitting. (I did read it in less than two days, though.) It was frustrating to watch these teenagers do things I just knew would go south. I had to take breaks because of their recklessness. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the book, but like a wave, it pushed me away just before it dragged me back in. I wanted to walk away, but it was like being in a car with a bunch of teenagers, watching as they drove towards a red light, screaming at the driver to pay attention, knowing that you were all about to hit a truck… Disaster was inevitable.

But here’s the thing, and it took me until about 75% of the book to figure it out. In real life, you don’t like everyone you meet. You don’t understand everything people do. You don’t agree with their actions. Vick didn’t set out to write a book about characters you love or root for; I imagine he wanted to write real people into existence, and he did. I didn’t like Jade a lot of the time, but there were parts of her that I loved and respected. Rag did things that I hated, but he wasn’t a bad person. Even G had redeeming qualities. Sometimes I liked the characters, sometimes I wanted them to stop being idiots (actually, most of the time), but I couldn’t help but root for them. There was a part of me that wanted to be there, with them in their moments of excitement, even when the rational part of me was shaking her head at their stupidity.

Only once I’d reached the end, tissues strewn all around, did I fully appreciate what Vicks had done. There was no other way for the book to end and be as incredibly real as it was. He’d written a masterpiece of a love story – with a girl and with the ocean, neither of which could be tamed. He’d put me inside the mind of a skinny, nerdy, teenage boy as he went through a rite of passage into a hardened, scary adulthood, where things don’t always work out and parents are humans who don’t know what to do.

If you liked Skins (and I mean, the good, old British Skins), then you’ll enjoy KOOK. You don’t even need to know much about surfing – enough is explained in the book to keep you floating along…and maybe even want to try it yourself. (But know that there is only one teacher.)

Honestly, be prepared to slam the book on the table and walk away. And maybe also keep some tissues handy, because this is a wild, dangerous ride, and there’s no way you’ll come out of it unscathed.

The above review originally appeared on Maximum Pop! Books, but below is all new!

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Jamie has figured out my personal formula for maximum enjoyment: kickass heroine, sarcasm, magic or other awesome ability and plenty of swoonworthy romance. She’s a bit harder to figure out. She likes darker books, and she doesn’t crave a happy ending like I do. She wants characters to actually struggle and suffer before they come out the other end, and not always in one piece. (Chances are, I’m all wrong on this. Sorry, Jamie, if I suck.)

If I am right, then she’ll like KOOK. It’s not an easy read, and the characters are fallible and flawed, their actions having real consequences. The characters don’t just have a silly oops moment and say sorry, making everything right with the world. While I pushed myself through the discomfort, knowing things were going to fall apart, I think Jamie will relish it.

About Christopher Vick

Christopher Vick lives in Bath with his family. He works for a whale and dolphin conservation charity, is a graduate of Bath Spa MA programme in children’s writing and is a keen surfer. He has been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places around the world to see whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. And to surf.

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