The Summer of Kicks by Dave Hackett

cover image

University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702253362
Recommended for readers aged 13+. Themes: Relationships; Family; Friendship; Teen coming-of age. With a central character with a burdensome name - 'Starrphyre', this book relates the love and pain-strewn path of this teenage boy as he juggles new love and old passion disastrously. Helped and hindered by his family and friends - his mother, an on-air Radio sex and relationship therapist; her former partner - a one-hit-wonder 80's band member; his sister, who is dating the ultimate loser boyfriend; his Gran - who attempts to predict the future; and his friendship group which is stereotypically full of outcasts. The misadventures for Starrphyre include starting a band with his friends in order to persuade girls to see them as above-ordinary. Unfortunately Starrphyre and his friends have little more than a disputed playlist. There is certainly no great musical talent amongst their number, and a chance meeting with a potential guitarist lands Starrphyre with a part-time job in a record store selling old-time vinyls and an accidental girl-friend. Accidents continue to litter his path, and kissing and poor choices send him on the relationship roller-coaster. This is not an unfamiliar plot, and is very definitely told from the point of view of a young male suffering the early doubts of his role in romance.
The author of this book will be well known to young TV viewers because of numerous roles on children's television as a presenter and cartoonist.
This is mostly an inoffensive tale (even with his Mother's unusual occupation sometimes providing advice) and provides some amusing moments.
Carolyn Hull