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.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: A-