At 15, Dylan is struggling. He's struggling with his explosive acne that has declared war on his face, struggling with his pushy younger sister, struggling with his nagging mum and her lame and misguided attempts to 'connect' with him, struggling with his dad who never seems to have time for him anymore, struggling with his retarded old phone-me-down courtesy of Hamish Banning pushing him and his iPhone off Jump Rock into the harbour, and he's struggling with his constant preoccupation with sex combined with his complete inability to attract any girl.
Struggling, but surviving. But when his English teacher reads out Dylan's creative writing piece to the class, revealing him to be a sensitive and perhaps promising writer (though in some classmates' opinion, pretty gay), it sets off a chain of events, including unlikely interest from a few hot girls and a vicious physical and verbal bullying attack, which sends Dylan on a frantic roller coaster of emotions culminating in a revelation that could make or break his survival.
Being a teenage boy can be tough. And life for 15 year old Dylan is just that.
It doesn’t seem to matter what he does, things always go wrong. If it isn't saying the wrong thing, it’s doing a stupid thing that makes him the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons.
He is dealing with the typical teenage feelings of insecurity, along with the issues, confusion and frustration that his changing hormones bring, coupled with the relentless bullying that he receives, especially from Hamish Banning. Throw in the fact that his family life is not what it used to be, and you have all the makings of a teenager struggling to cope and not knowing where to turn or how to change things.
Dylan tries to ask for help, but it just doesn’t come out. The issues with his Mum and Dad take precedence, and he is left to deal with things on his own. And just when he thinks things are looking up, it all just gets worse and he finds himself betrayed again, by the one person he thought was his closest mate, Ryan, and by the girls that he thought were starting to accept him.
As a mum of two teenage boys, in Year 8 and Year 10, it certainly struck a real chord with me, and I just wanted to reach out to Dylan and help him. It highlights the struggles teenagers today face, and how fragile they really can be.
It is a very powerful read with an ending that will leave your heart in your mouth. It does contain swearing and sexual references, and will best suit those 15+.
Reviewed by Sam