Boyz ‘r’ us


Scott Monk

Random House Australia

Mitch is surprised, playing truant from school, to find himself alone in the takeaway where the Thunderjets usually hang out. He’s even more surprised to find that the reason he’s alone is that the gang is down the park, eager for a fight he hasn’t been told about—a challenge for his leadership of the Thunderjets.

Brutal and ambitious, Barry Wheeler is stunned when Mitch turns up and refuses to fight. Mitch may not want to be involved with the gang anymore but Wheeler wants two things: revenge and respect. He can’t get either if Mitch simply hands him the leadership and walks away, intent on getting his life back on track. With ruthless cunning, Wheeler indulges in a spree of violence, blackmail and bribery to try to coerce Mitch back into the twilight underworld where fear rules. The more Mitch tries to distance himself from the drugs, fighting and drinking, the further he is drawn back into a world he starts to realise is about lonely, insecure kids yearning for power.

Boyz ‘r’ us is a compassionate but arrestingly honest portrayal of a teen who makes all the wrong choices when his mother dies, his father then turns to drink for solace and his brother and sister are wrapped up in their own grief. Mitch’s growing maturity of vision is matched by the complexity of his loyalties to friends and family. He faces increasing difficulty as he tries to resolve the problems of his life, only to find them escalating out of control.

The counterpoint of light and dark, innocence and corruption, hard-core violence and hard-won forgiveness, gang oaths and promises of friendship, anger and laughter, death and life, all combine to make this searing account a truly brilliant read.

Monk scores.

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