Review Blog

Jun 24 2014

Bleakboy and Hunter stand out in the rain by Steven Herrick

cover image

UQP, 2014. ISBN 9780702250163.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Bullying. Environment. Family life. Feel good book. Humour. Jesse is a boy who has some problems fitting into his new school. He has one good friend, Kate who entices him into helping her on her quest to Save the Whales. He has one enemy, the school bully, Hunter, who continually calls him names and gives him a hard time.
The story is told in alternative chapters, first in Jesse's voice telling of his trials, and then in the third person narrative, relating the very different life that Hunter has, giving the reader a really good experience of travelling in each of the character's shoes. Laced throughout with humour, the reader is taken on a joyous ride as Jesse talks to a poster representing Jesus, whom Jesse calls Trevor so as not to annoy his agnostic parents. Jesse's home life is very loving, even though his parents and sister often embarrass him. Hunter on the other hand is going through some problems as his father has left and gone to New Zealand with another woman, and both he and his mother have to face his desertion. At home Hunter is a very different and loving boy, in comparison to the face that he presents at school, and it is not until both he and Jesse are standing out in the rain that they come to an understanding.
This is a feel good book that leaves the reader feeling uplifted. Even though the problems are huge: bullying, marriage breakdown, and the fate of the whales, the characters are big hearted and people help each out. Hunter's meeting with Senior Citizen Les helps him and Kate's work with the Save the Whale campaign bring a different perspective to the story. The themes of helping each other and the environment stand out.
This would make an excellent Literature Circle book or Read aloud for upper primary students and comes highly recommended for any library collection.
Pat Pledger

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