Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kid review: Skate, by Michael harmon

There’s not much keeping Ian McDermott in Spokane, but at least it’s home. He’s been raising Sammy practically on his own ever since their mom disappeared again on one of her binges. They get by, finding just enough to eat and plenty of time to skateboard. But at Morrison High, Ian is getting the distinct, chilling feeling that the administration wants him and his board and his punked hair gone. Simply gone. And when his temper finally blows–he actually takes a swing at Coach Florence and knocks him cold–Ian knows he’s got to grab Sammy and skate. Run. (Quoted from Michael Harmon's website)

I read Skate a while back and recently passed it along to my 11 1/2 year old son, Ben, who has only recently started branching out from a pretty steady diet of fantasy to more realistic fiction. Since he read the book most recently, I asked Ben to write the review with me. The end result is the following: Guest review by Ben

I wanted to read this book because it had skateboarding in it and I like skateboarding. There was plenty of skating in the beginning and that got me hooked into the story. After Ian and Sammy ran away there wasn't really any skating, but by then I already knew it was a book I was going to read.

Basically the only things that matter to Ian are skateboarding and his little brother Sammy, and he's always looking out for his little brother. He cares a lot about his family. It seemed like he cares about his brother more than I probably would, although maybe if my mom did drugs it'd be different because it said his mom wasn't there most of the time so he probably had to look out for him. The people around her were on drugs and were pretty mean, which was kind of confusing to me.

Sammy's in 4th grade, and in parts of the book he's trying to be bigger and cooler than he really is, but then there are lots of parts where you can tell he's still just a little kid, like he'll whine, "I'm hungry!" where Ian's more grown up, like, "We need some food."

My favorite scene was one where they're skating and then a security guard says, "You can't skate here." Ian said they'd leave but Sammy kept skating and the security guard said, "I said you can't skate here!" Ian was trying to stop Sammy but he kicked the security guard's shin and they both ran away. Later Sammy said no one can boss him around.

There was a court scene near the end that was kind of boring, it was just court talk and I couldn't really focus on it, I kind of just skipped through it.

I give this book 4 stars, and I'd recommend it to kid 11 or 12 and up, depending on the kid. I'd read another book by this author, depending on what it was about. I think he should write more books about skateboarding kids.

Ali: Thanks for the review, Ben! What song would you like to pick for the soundtrack?
Ben: Fat Lip, by Sum 41, because it makes me think of skating.
Ali: OK, here you go.


  1. That's a good review from an eleven year old boy. Good job on raising a reader.

  2. Thanks, Sandra! I love doing reviews with my kids. They always manage to surprise me!

  3. Thank you!! I always value an honest review from those I write for.
    Michael Harmon

  4. Thanks for saying so, Michael. I passed your comments on to Ben, who still remembers the book fondly nearly a year later. We're both looking forward to seeing what your next book will be (any hints...?). Bet he'll love Last Exit to Normal, too, when he's a teen.

  5. Ok...this may be alittle weird but i didnt get the book and i need to know the beginning,middle and end of this I know them for my book club.

  6. Ha! Like I'd give away the ending? Not a chance. It's a really good book, though. I hope you can get a copy and the rest of your book club liked it enough to inspire you to read it.