cover image Surf Mules

Surf Mules

G. Neri, . . Putnam, $16.99 (273pp) ISBN 978-0-399-25086-6

Avid surfer Logan goes into a sudden tailspin when his recently estranged friend, Fin, dies in a freak surfing accident. Fin, Logan learns, had been a drug mule for Broza, a local marijuana dealer. Needing a replacement mule, Broza uses Logan's best friend, Z-boy—a goodhearted but impulsive high school dropout who wants to get rich fast so he can surf and get high—to lure Logan into taking the job. Hair shorn and “dressed like Republicans in suits and ties,” the two boys drive a marijuana-stocked car cross-country, through increasingly dangerous and ultimately tragic events. The short, high drama chapters may appeal particularly to older struggling readers, but Logan's agonized wrestling with morally ambiguous choices and his flawed yet appealing family and friends should find a wide audience. While a romantic subplot with surfer friend Emmie offers hopeful glimmers, the tortured but loving friendship between Logan and Z-boy proves poignant and heartbreaking. Ages 14–up. (June)