Grade 8 Up–Ian McDermott doesn't have much going for him. He has basically raised himself and his young brother, who has fetal alcohol syndrome. Their mother is a deadbeat drug addict who makes rare appearances in their lives. At Morrison High School, things aren't much better; the administration wants him out. The thing is, Ian isn't going to take any guff from anyone. But one day, he loses his cool and ends up breaking Coach Florence's jaw. The teen knows that he and Sammy have to get away fast before the cops catch up with him. They grab some meager supplies and skate out of Spokane toward Walla Walla to search for their estranged father. Surviving on the lam in the wilderness isn't easy. They cross the state in cold rain, with barely enough provisions. At one point they end up in trouble with a sheriff but escape. The brothers have high hopes that their father will welcome them into his life, but things do not turn out as planned. The author has created a main character who is confident and tragic, but too many convenient coincidences detract from the story being completely believable. Ian's most redeeming quality is the love he has for his brother. The ending is predictable, and the novel does not have the zip that makes it extraordinary, but it does allow readers to breathe a sigh of relief for these siblings.–Shannon Seglin, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
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Despite a jacket photo of a figure riding a skateboard, this first novel is less about skater culture than about learning to deal with life's hard knocks. Fifteen-year-old Ian has little patience for authority at school, where he assumes officials view him as "just another punker with spiked hair and no brain." He especially dreads being swept into the foster-care system by clueless adults. So when his drug-addicted mother's negligence and his own poor judgment leave him anticipating separation from his younger brother, Sammy, Ian and Sammy embark on a 160-mile hike to find the father who "skated" out of their lives before Sammy's birth. A subplot concerning a megalomaniacal school administrator complicates matters unnecessarily, and the optimistic resolution feels a bit pat. But the details of the brothers' survival on the lam will rivet teens, including many reluctant readers, and Harmon compellingly renders wary, brittle Ian, particularly the tension between his admirable motivations and his self-destructive impulses. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I purchased these for a teacher in my school district as requested. She has been very happy with them so far.Published 18 months ago by Kim Lehner
It's a really good book I have read it many times in school and I choose to read It again any child or anyone really could read this and fall in love with the character's and learn... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amanda Young
The flow was compelling and satisfying. Perhaps designed more for teens similar to Catcher in the Rye. Take a spinPublished on July 13, 2013 by Arthur E. Schimmelman
It was a very good book I liked it very much it was relatable in some ways very good bookPublished on January 5, 2013 by Andrew Wilcox
We are reading this book for my book club. We have a lot of retired teachers and I think we will be having a very good discussion. I really enjoyed reading this book. Read morePublished on October 14, 2012 by Anniez
A completely gripping read, SKATE is one of those books that just stays with you.
15 year old Ian McDermott is a good kid, stuck in a very bad situation. Read more
This is an excellent book that I've read to my classes (from 5th to 8th grade) for years. Since I teach in an impoverished area where drug use is as common as family problems,... Read morePublished on May 15, 2012 by rleach