Charlee Smelton has just moved to San Francisco. She hates the city, she hates her school, and she doesn’t fit in at all. To make things worse, her dad just dragged home the most un-cool bike she’s ever seen. That bike is going to make trouble… and then maybe save her from it?
Charlee is an unlikely heroine that embodies all of the things that make school bullies nasty. She likes soda, she couldn’t care less what she wears, and she’s just a little bit ‘odd’. To me, she’s a convincing character that despite being scared, like we all are at times, she still confronts her fears, and tries to do the best thing she sees at the time – even if that gets her into trouble!
So the setup was a bit transparent, and the rate at which common people accepted the oddities happening in San Francisco was unrealistic, but the characters themselves felt like they had stepped right out of childhood. And that made their problems relatable, and their characters something that a reader could empathise with.
This is not a simple ‘good guy wins, bad guy loses’, ‘good triumphs over evil’ story. Charlee can still get hurt, real people can get hurt, people lie for the worst and best reason, and it’s all perfectly normal! Apart from that odd bike…
I did have a small problem with the artwork on the novel’s jacket. The sideways Pegasus didn’t do anything for me, and made me think that the book was produced at a low cost. Additionally, the blurb left me wanting something more – but didn’t make me want to read the book. Once I got into it though, it wasn’t so bad 🙂
Ugh. Some of the reviews by other reviewers do not give this novel enough justice! It’s a middle-grade novel, you shouldn’t be expecting something that is too lengthy or depthy (that should be a word!). Giving a novel a positive review, yet low stars, is what upsets me about GoodRead’s scoring system. I enjoyed this novel, and if I was in the target age group, I’d for sure give it a 3-4 star rating. So that’s what I’m giving it – an above standard middle-grade novel that was enjoyable, but not perfect. I would certainly recommend it to middle-grade readers.