Rhino Chasers

Rhino Chasers

by Neil Grant
     
 

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Reminiscent of Alex Garland’s The Beach, this action-packed novel brilliantly depicts one teenager's journey to understanding the importance of relationships, responsibility, and revenge. Sharp and punchy writing energizes Goog's road trip along the coastline of Australia with his two best friends; however, their time enjoying the surf is compromised

Overview


Reminiscent of Alex Garland’s The Beach, this action-packed novel brilliantly depicts one teenager's journey to understanding the importance of relationships, responsibility, and revenge. Sharp and punchy writing energizes Goog's road trip along the coastline of Australia with his two best friends; however, their time enjoying the surf is compromised by vivid encounters with sharks the size of trucks, a sinister hitchhiker, and neo-Nazis. As their trouble and excitement grow along their epic trip, so does their strength and independence.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Australia's subculture of surfers who are just past school age and not quite over the last streak of adolescent bravado before settling into manhood feature in this brisk, realistic, and accessible novel. Goog and his best childhood buddy Castro have taken up with surly Aldo, mostly because he has a car. Castro can just barely maintain the peace between the almost introspective Goog and the nearly neo-Nazi Aldo, so it's not a comfortable road trip the three undertake in search of mythically perfect surf. Not only does Aldo needle Goog and bait Castro, but the threesome come across various unsavory types, including a hitchhiker who feeds Castro mescaline. The next day, Castro appears to be lost to the surf and the sharks, his death bringing a pause in the struggle between Aldo and Goog. Grant paints a world that is rough, tumble, and not so much mean spirited as dispirited. Millennial American males will appreciate this take on life as a pursuit of physical challenge and on emotions as threats to mastery. For those who have outgrown Tim Winton's Lockie Leonard titles but are looking for a simple story line that delivers force rather than complexity, this offers what American fiction has yet to do so well: it shows the politically incorrect�and vitally accurate�Weltanschang of boyhood's final fling. KLIATT Codes: S�Recommended for senior high school students. 2002, Allen and Unwin, 227p.,
— Francisca Goldsmith
VOYA
For the uninitiated, surfing might evoke images of warm water, white sand beaches, and skimpily clad sun worshipers. For three eighteen-year-old Australians surfing the length of Australia's southern coast, however, quite the opposite is true. The cold water of the Southern Ocean requires wet suits, and surfing the best waves can often mean climbing down remote cliffs to reach rocky, dangerous access points where any injury could easily result in death. The surfer culture prizes physical danger and the courage to face it. For Goog, from whose point of view the story is told, the trip is mostly about facing his physical fears, but it is also about dealing with the memory of a father who abandoned his family many years earlier. Dealing with neo-Nazis, local tough guys, and great white sharks provides plenty of excitement for all three protagonists. When Castro is killed, Goog and Aldo find they can no longer depend on someone else to make sense of their lives for them. The story is engaging, although two unfamiliar languages might prove difficult: Australian English, "He was shredding a Redhead between tombstone teeth," and surf lingo, "They were almost halfway out when the neck was closed by a new set." These dialects lend authenticity to the work, however, enhancing its believability. Two of the main characters change as a result of their experiences-one appears to mature whereas the other seems to just rechannel his craziness. The ending seems a little rushed, but open-ended enough (is Castro really dead?) to suggest a possible sequel. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult andYoung Adult). 2003, Allen & Unwin, 227p,
— James Blasingame
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-Three scruffy surfer boys decide to cross Australia with their "rhino chaser" boards tied to the roof of an old Kingswood wagon, in search of the "big wave." The road trip takes readers over a bumpy plot involving the theft of a computer disk from a neo-Nazi group and a reappearing sinister hitchhiker who is sent to retrieve the disk from the beach bums. Numerous stops to fix their car provide opportunities to meet peripheral characters such as some German campers and "red-necked" Aborigines. The story is more engaging when the action revolves around surfing. One of the boys disappears in shark-infested waters but the ending suggests that he didn't die. The dynamic among the main characters is established at the outset but changes later on. Aldo is ruled by hormones, artistic Goog is weak, and Castro is the mediator between his two bickering mates. When Castro disappears, Goog gains a backbone and uses life's hard lessons to mature. Language is raw and filled with surfing slang. Action-filled passages that take readers out on the waves will appeal to real fans of the sport. As narrator, it is Goog's photographic eye that relays the beauty and danger of the sea. Unfortunately, wonderful imagery doesn't make up for a portrayal of surfers as a misogynistic lot who can't utter a sentence without using profanity.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781865086958
Publisher:
Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited
Publication date:
05/01/2003
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range:
16 - 18 Years

Meet the Author


Neil Grant has spent a most of his adult life travelling and surfing while working odd jobs such as an instrument sterilizer, forklift driver, banana picker, and dishwasher. He is the author of Indo Dreaming.

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