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Reviewed by Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite
In Sydell Voeller’s Skateboard Blues, Jessica “Jessie” Williams is a teenage tomboy who can’t wait to get away from the Oregon small town she has lived in her whole life. And now that her father is running for mayor, things are getting a little hectic around the house. Then, she notices the new neighbor, Cam, skateboarding, and she’s soon infatuated with him. As their friendship and relationship grows and Cam teaches her how to skate, things get a little complicated. Everyone in town, including her parents, is against skaters, so Jessie and her new friends are getting in trouble for skating where they aren’t wanted and getting blamed for things they didn’t do. Now, Jessie and Cam are determined to prove to the community that they’re not the troublemakers everyone thinks they are. And Jessie is determined to make this relationship with Cam work, but could someone be getting in the way?
There is something cute and refreshing about a blossoming teen romance that has nothing to do with supernatural beings or a dystopian world, and that is one thing that instantly grabbed my attention about Skateboard Blues. It’s simply about a boy and a girl falling in love, which everyone can relate to. Jessie is such a completely relatable character; I felt like I was reading about my teenage self. Not only is it about a new love, but it’s also about a group of skaters trying to prove themselves to their community. They want the people in their town to see that they’re not as bad as people think. This aspect of the story can definitely teach teens an important lesson: hard work and determination will pay off in the end. My one minor problem with this book is that I wish there was a little more romance. So much of it was centered on the skating and working on their project that the romance was kind of pushed to the side. However, Sydell Voeller is such a talented writer and storyteller, which can clearly be seen in this story. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I think teens will as well.