The main character, Sam is fifteen and recently torn from the comfort of his city life to live in the alien landscape of Cornwall. His family are broken and struggling after the death of his father. He’s is a self-confessed nerd and all round good kid who is about to experience the thrills of danger. He discovers these in his new-found passion for surfing and his even greater passion for the local bad girl, Jade.
As time goes on their love grows - the emotions swelling and receding like the waves off the Cornish coast. Sam’s grief and Jade’s obsessions create conflict and add interest to their relationship. Teen romance is a tough ask from any writer but Chris Vick handles it perfectly - no cringy moments or squirmy dialogue. But, their story takes an unexpected turn and grows darker and more menacing.
The Cornish setting is a perfect metaphor for their romance – both beautiful and dangerous. I was born and brought up in Cornwall and although I was never a part of the surfing culture, I had friends who were. The passion and commitment for this sport rings so true here.
This book seems to be aimed mostly at the “girl” market which is a pity – the well-rounded characters will appeal to everyone. Most of all - it’s an exciting read. Oh, and I learned that the intriguing title is because a “kook” is an aspiring wave rider, a nerd, or someone who tries - and fails - to mimic the surfing lifestyle. Perfect.
Sharon Tregenza writes Middle Grade mysteries. Her latest book ‘The Jewelled Jaguar’ is published by Firefly Press.
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