Nick Hornby, Editor . Putnam $19.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-25048-4

A highly companionable narrator, 16-year-old Sam Jones has spent his life coming to terms with having been an unwanted baby—his parents married because his 16-year-old mother was pregnant, and they divorced soon after. He knows better, in other words, than to make the same mistake. But by the time he learns he's going to be a father himself, he's not even dating Alicia, the mother, anymore. Devastated about how fatherhood will wreck his future, Sam, a skateboarder, talks things through with a poster of Tony Hawk, who “answers” in quotes from his biography, which Sam has read 40 or 50 times. Sam also credits Hawk with a magical ability to transport him to his own future, where he participates in dream-state scenes that actually do occur later. Like Hornby's adult bestsellers (High Fidelity ; About a Boy ), his YA debut features witty dialogue, a winning if flawed hero and wry insights into the male psyche, making this book a sure bet for Hornby fans of any age. Whether Hornby will find a new audience may be chancier—the readers attracted by Sam's skateboarding talk might want more action and less absorption in relationships than his craftily structured novel offers. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/08/2007
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Children's
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