by Christopher Vick
Published: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
A heart-pounding love story that grips like a riptide, and doesn’t let go…
Fifteen-year old Sam has moved from the big city to the coast – stuck there with his mum and sister on the edge of nowhere.
Then he meets beautiful but damaged surfer-girl Jade. Soon he’s in love with her, and with surfing itself. But Jade is driven by an obsession: finding and riding a legendary huge wave no one has ever ridden.
As the weeks wear on, their relationship barrels forward with the force of a deep-water wave – into a storm, to danger … and to heartbreak.
Excuse me while I pick up all the tiny shards of my heart, as this book just took it and completely smashed it to smithereens.
When I started Kook, I wasn't sure what direction it was going to take. Was this a story of two broken characters and their journey toward something better? Was it going to be more contemporary and about a summer a group of teens spent together? Whatever I thought it might be, it was so much more.
Kook is the story of Sam, a newly relocated teen with a slight chip on his shoulder thanks to losing his dad in a hazy accident when he was young, and Jade, a girl who also lost a parent (though not how you'd expect) who surfs as a way to cope with her home life. Newly relocated near the water, Sam is closer to learning the true story of what happened to his dad, and also to discovering what his dad was working on when he died. This knowledge helps deepen his relationship with Jade, and takes them down a path that will forever change them. Sam starts out secretly learning to surf to impress Jade into thinking he's no longer a kook - a learner or wannabe. She's a bit guarded so it's not going to be that easy to persuade her. But Sam is pretty persistent and before long, he's somewhat of a regular to her group of surfer buddies.
This book feels deeply personal, as I imagine it is for the author. I had no idea the emotional pull it would have until it hit me like a ton of bricks. The story largely revolves around surfing and Sam's journey in learning, but ends up in a place you won't expect. It's a story of healing and being a teen, all at the same time. The teens in this book are definitely reckless and daring, for better or for worse.
Originally published abroad, Kook is stylized for the country it takes place in, meaning I had to look up some of what the terms mean in American English. That doesn't take away from the story, though! I hope you'll take a chance and check it out!
See our interview with Christopher Vick and check out Kook, in store tomorrow!