Thursday, June 2, 2016

True Vert by Janet Eoff Berend (by Paul Greci)

Janet Eoff Berend’s second novel, True Vert (forthcoming from Breakaway Books this September), is a story that offers an intimate view of the skateboarding world. True Vert’s fast-paced, action-packed narrative will engage reluctant readers, and teens interested in skateboarding. It would be an excellent addition to school and classroom libraries.

From the backcover:
In this coming-of-age story, fifteen-year-old Josh Lowman earns a spot as a pro skateboarder on the Alpha Dog Skate Kru team. With the help of washed-up skate legend Dave McSteel, Josh pushes the limits of what's humanly possible on a skateboard.
He's living the dream, he's cool, an Alpha Dog skater; but he starts to lose focus on the things that truly matter. His goal is to impress Erin, but he's so caught up in the pro skater thing that Erin and the rest of his old friends don't want to be around him. And he's not sure if his new friends are even friends at all.

Dirk Davies, the ambitious owner of Alpha Dog Skate Company, isn't satisfied. Hungry for even more corporate sponsors, Dirk persuades Josh to skate the most treacherous ramp of all, and now Josh has to decide what he's willing to risk to maintain his spot on the Alpha Dog team.
True Vert offers a glimpse into the dog-eat-dog world of professional skateboarding and takes the reader along for a wild ride as Josh discovers that it takes as much courage to drop into the Mega Ramp as it does to stay true to oneself.

Without any spoilers, one of the strengths of True Vert is the ever-present tension Josh experiences both internally and externally. I enjoyed following Josh’s thought processes as well as his interactions with other characters. I continually wanted to know what decisions he would make and what would happen to him as a result of his decisions.

True Vert is a stand-alone sequel to Berend’s first novel, Vertical, which I wrote about here.

A little bit about the Publisher: Breakaway Books publishes literary and thoughtful writing on sports — fiction, poetry, and essays on the athletic experience. We are interested in the emotional and metaphysical side of sports, the inner life of the athlete. We also celebrate the many ways sport can serve as muse for excellent writing — both serious and playful.

Congrats, Janet!!

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