Mr. Roses, illustrated by Amber Leigh Luecke

Publisher: House of Roses Pages: 208 Price: (paperback) $14.99 ISBN: 9780999567647 Reviewed: October, 2021 Author Website: Visit »

In this rhyming chapter book for young readers, a teen skateboarder looking to become a champion learns valuable lessons about the importance of family and friends over fame and fortune.

In the town of Letitbe, skateboarding is a popular past time. Good guy Bonez, nicknamed for the skeleton boy T-shirt he always wears, strives to be the best at his sport. Declared the winner in a local photo-finish race, Bonez is soon courted by agents looking to cash in on his talent. With his face plastered on billboards, Bonez gets caught up in the limelight, and his relationships with his friends change. When a new longboard skater comes to town, Bonez’s fame begins to wane. Ultimately, it causes him to reflect on the fleeting nature of popularity, life’s ups and downs, and what’s really important.

Chapters detail a close-knit group of characters, their daily actions and emotional reactions to happenings. From social distancing to mood-reflective wardrobes, Mr. Roses details friends at odds and experiencing depression and loneliness due to Bonez’s sudden newfound fame.

The author presents the entire narrative in a rhyming pattern. Unfortunately, the rhythm is uneven and the syntax is often strained. (“We open up the story with Quigz in a laughter. Then a slap to his back from Essie right after.”) Fortunately, this impediment feels less bothersome as the story progresses.

The storyline offers a positive message to “always follow your heart” and remember that “each day is new and always perfect for a fresh start.” Life advice, also in rhyme, is highlighted throughout. (“Just know that life’s a game and that there is always a test./ Stay true to yourself and remember what’s important, that I humbly suggest.”) Bonus activities at book’s end offer an opportunity for further reader engagement.

Bonez is a life-affirming story, primarily for tween readers. Although the writing style may deter many readers, others will find the pointed message about setting and reaching goals genuinely uplifting.

Author's Current Residence
Staten Island, New York
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