The novel is told from 18-year-old Sam’s point of view as he looks back over the last couple years of his life. When Sam is 15, he loves skateboarding and has an imaginary friend, the famous skater Tony Hawk. Sam talks to his Tony Hawk poster on the wall in his bedroom and Tony Hawk responds, quoting lines from his autobiography, which Sam has read several times. Sam also has a girlfriend, and she tells him she’s pregnant. Then Sam is reliving his mom’s nightmare (Sam was born when she was 16). Tony Hawk whizzes Sam forward in time to see glimpses of his future and of his kid.
Nick Hornby does a fabulous job creating the character of Sam. He’s just an average kid who has dug himself into a deep hole, and while he panics, runs away, hides and is scared, he’s also rather optimistic at times. I enjoyed this book, Sam and the relationship he has with his mom. There are comedic parts (especially as Sam is being whizzed into the future by Tony Hawk) and more serious parts (when he has to face the reality that his girlfriend really is pregnant, and that he’s made his mom’s worst fear come true).
Rated: High. This book is targeted at young adults, and while it doesn’t paint the picture of teen sex being without huge consequences (a baby in this case, along with the giving up of a lifestyle), it is fairly descriptive (for a teen book) about sex. And, because the narrator is a teenage boy, the language matches, with several incidences of the f-word and other swearing.