Everyday kids channel their inner superheroes in Nat Amoore’s and Mike Barry’s graphic novel hybrid.
Best friends Jed, Tommy, Maki and Sticks all live on Lockett Street (which is actually a cul-de-sac). United by the street that they call home and a shared love for the Screen Savers comic book series, they go under the moniker The Lockett Squad. When not at school or doing household chores, they hang out at their HQ shack at the reservoir where they chat all things Screen Savers and create videos of their favourite episodes. Life is awesome until the adults in their lives start making decisions that could tear the four friends apart.
Jed’s pushy parents have enrolled him into more after school clubs than he can count and are intent on sending him away to boarding school so he can fulfil his potential. Maki, whose family moves every two years because of his dad’s job, looks to be heading to a new country entirely. Sticks’ parents, preoccupied with dealing with badly behaving Bryce and his court appearances, seem to have forgotten about her entirely. And Tommy, whose grandmother and carer has just died, is going into the care of the authorities and could end up in a town no one has ever heard of.
With their lives falling apart in-front of their very eyes, the kids need a plan. When they learn that the Screen Savers is being made into a movie, they know what they must do. Get to the audition, nail the parts and stay together…
The bonds of friendship are tested and ultimately triumph in this thrilling, nail-biting and wild ride of an adventure that takes four best friends from the leafy suburbs of Lockett Street to the beaches, oceans and big city lights of the Gold Coast. With limited funds, no concrete plans and an audition deadline looming, the kids must pull-off the impossible without getting caught. It isn’t long before the police are hunting them down, their story has made the news and setback after setback look to derail things.
But where there’s a will there’s a way and these kids have bags of heart, spirit and the deep desire to do what needs to be done to stay together. Many kids would love this kind of adventure and in the absence of embarking on their own, possibly ill-advised, adult-free escapades, enjoying the exploits of Sticks and co is a cracking way to live vicariously.
Taking control of their lives means addressing real issues that children face and through embracing their inner superheroes the kids face up to domestic violence from a sibling, family tragedy, the prospect of being put into the care of the authorities and the disruption regular relocation can cause.
With huge thanks to Penguin Random House for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 9+.