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Bonez by: Mr. Roses
Mr. Roses, author
Have you ever read a book that's written like a song? 28 chapters, what could go wrong? A story about some skaters, one wants to be the best. How he will act when he finally has it, that will be the true test. It's filled with friendship and family not to mention a few goons. There's a chef, a photographer and an artist who paints moons. And of course there's a wild card always creating an interesting scene. The point of it all is to be genuine and to follow your dream.
In Roses’ spirited, distinctive book for middle-grade readers, a boy called Bonez navigates the world of professional skateboarding as well as his relationship with his first girlfriend, Peep. When Bonez beats reigning champ Sally in a high-profile skateboarding race, his life changes. Suddenly agents are knocking on his door, offering him fame and fortune in exchange for his talents and trademark “skeleton boy” logo. At the same time, Bonez gets to know and falls in love with Peep–though their connection falters when his new popularity goes to his head. These experiences teach Bonez important life lessons about maintaining focus, overcoming failure, and staying humble.

Readers also get to know Bonez’s lively lifelong friends Essie and Quigz, but the most refreshing character is the tough and fierce Sally, an exceptional skateboarder in her own right. The evolution of Sally’s relationship with Quigz is sweet and charming, growing from mutually antagonistic to empathetic and caring. Roses uses rhyming prose throughout this tale–it’s written, the press materials note, “like a song”–which sometimes comes across as surprising or clever but at others can be awkward or distracting: “Quigz walked over to the swing set and handed Sally the flowers. She took the pretty bunch from Quigz and down fell some tear showers.” The rhyming prose is laid out in paragraphs rather than verse form, and the dialogue is rendered in rhyme, too, formatted in the style of a script.

Simple black-and-white illustrations help bring the characters to life, showing Bonez and his friends skateboarding, teasing each other, and expressing a range of emotions. While appealing, the illustrations are not the star of this show, however; this story and its mature themes of being genuine are most appropriate for a preteen audience. Ultimately, Bonez learns that relationships are more important than winning any race, which will resonate with young readers who are just beginning to discover themselves.

Takeaway: The spirited story of a a boy called Bonez navigating the world of professional skateboarding–and his relationships.

Great for fans of: K.A. Holt’s House Arrest, Kevin Emerson’s Breakout.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: B+
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A-