“Take Off”

Take Off by Todd Strasser

Kai, having lived in Hawaii most of his life and now on the East coast in the city of Sun Haven, would like to surf Screamers. He’s arrived in Sun Haven with his conman father and his pretty stupid half-brother. He’s been living with them for a couple of years, since his mother died in a car accident in Kauai. His father, whom he calls The Alien Frog Beast, spends his life on the wrong side of the law, scamming people, and then moving on. When he takes Kai to Sun Haven, it’s Kai’s first look at the ocean since he left Hawaii.

Kai meets an older, alcoholic surfer who owns a rundown motel where surfers can stay cheap. Curtis becomes a mentor for Kai, allowing him to have a long board. Kai also meets Terry, a shaper, and she lets him shape a short board for himself while working in her shop.

Kai has to fight to get the opportunity to surf Screamers because it’s locals only there, and wealthy Lucas Frank and his crew guard the spot, using violence if necessary to keep others out. Kai proposes a surf contest to earn the right for him and his friends to surf Screamers.

Take Off is the first book in a surf series called Impact Zone. It’s a lot of fun because there’s tension, action and a love interest. For anyone who surfs, the added bonus is lots of surf action and surfing terms to describe it and to describe Kai’s emotions about being on the waves. It’s not very deep—Kai’s half-brother Sean and his dad, Pat, are one-dimensional, as are some of the minor characters. But it is fun, and if you like being on the ocean, I think you could get hooked into the series. It’s at COHS and available from the Ontario City Library.

I think this is my last water book for awhile. I’ve been looking for book with sports themes and action, and just read the best baseball book for adults. Maybe I’ll review that one. Adult book or not, if you care about baseball, you may need to read The Art of Fielding.


About Victoria Waddle

I'm a high school librarian, formerly an English teacher. I love to read and my mission is to connect people with the right books. To that end, I read widely--from the hi-lo for reluctant high school readers to the literary adult novel for the bibliophile.
This entry was posted in Adventure Stories, Family Problems, Fiction, Sports, Young Adult Literature and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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