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*Starred Review* For Hornby, author of About a Boy (1988) and High Fidelity (1995), the move from adult to young-adult fiction represents more of a natural progression than a change in course. So it should come as no surprise that he has written an accomplished teen novel featuring a character whose voice hits its groove at the downbeat and sustains it through the final chord. Sam is a disarmingly ordinary 15-year-old kid who loves to skate (that's skateboarding, to you and me). But then he is blindsided: his girlfriend gets pregnant, and he lands in the middle of his mum's nightmare (she had Sam when she was 16). This may sound like an old-fashioned realistic YA problem novel, but it's a whole lot more. Sam, you see, has a sort-of-imaginary friend: the world's greatest skater, Tony Hawk, whose poster Sam talks to when he has problems. And the poster talks back, maybe, or maybe Sam is just reciting quotes from Tony's autobiography. And is it really Tony who is whizzing Sam into the future for glimpses of what is to come? With or without Tony's help, Sam gives us the facts about his very eventful couple of years, but as he reminds us, there comes a point where the facts don't matter anymore . . . because you don't know what anything felt like. Which is where Hornby comes in. We know exactly how Sam feels even when he feels differently from the beginning of a sentence to the end and it feels just right: a vertiginous mix of anger, confusion, insight, humor, and love.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2007 Booklist
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Gr 9 Up-Sam has slammed many times while skateboarding, but he slams in a different way when he learns that he is going to be a father. He is nearly 16 when he meets Alicia, and the relationship moves quickly, ending just as fast. Then, on his birthday, he gets an "urgent" text message from her, and what she has to tell him when they meet doesn't surprise him. Alicia is pregnant. Sam turns to the poster of the person he can always trust to give him the answers, Tony Hawk. TH whizzes him into the future and shows him exactly what kind of father he will become to his child, Roof. These moments are the most touching and hilarious in the novel. Sam's adventures are artfully done and move the plot forward without revealing too much. The characters are given the opportunity to grow with charm and wit while facing the challenges of young adulthood. Without making light of it, Hornby broaches the subject of teen pregnancy with humor and warmth.-Julianna M. Helt, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.