Extreme! by J. A. Mawter

‘Now there’s a girl with a death wish.’
Mio watched the girl skateboard down some handrails, nailing the landing but carving close enough to fog up a metal pole. Straightening, and with a push-push of her foot, she popped into the air, the skateboard somehow stuck to her feet, before flipping and spinning, only to drop to a crouched landing before rolling away.
Mio smiled as she spotted the sign attached to the pole. The ‘N’ had been whitened out and texta-ed over so that the NO SKATEBOARDING now read GO SKATEBOARDING. She pointed out the sign to her friend Clem saying. ‘Those skateboarders don’t miss a trick.’

Mio and her friends, Clem, Bryce, Tong and Darcy, are mad keen BMX riders. They are excited that the council is constructing a BMX/skate park, until they find there’s been a change in plans. The council have decided that it’s too dangerous to have the bikers and skaters together and the park will now be just for the skaters. They are all furious, but Mio is the most determined to do something about it. They meet with their friend, Mr Lark to plan a course of action. Mio borrows Mr Lark’s Vietnam War dog tags for a school project and things begin to go wrong, especially for her. Each attempt she makes to sort things out just lands her in more trouble, until even her closest friends seem keen to distance themselves.

Extreme! is a rocketing ride from start to finish. It is full of BMX stunts, described in detail. The reader has plenty of opportunities to experience the similarities and differences between BMX riding and skateboarding. The thrills and the spills. There are chase scenes worthy of any action movie. Extreme is told from the omniscient point of view with characters from Japanese, Vietnamese, Jewish and Anglo backgrounds. In Mio, for example, Japanese reticence fights with an Australian forthrightness. Tong struggles with English, but also with some Australian concepts. The relationship the children have with Mr Lark is an anchor for them all, particularly when other adults appear to be being unreasonable. Themes include justice, cultural identity, friendship, identity theft, cooperation and safety.

Recommended for upper primary-early secondary readers.

Extreme!, by J A Mawter
Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780732285319