Book review

Hite by K Saksena (2005)

Graffiti. When you see a tag on a wall, do you ever wonder about the artist who did it? If the tag is brash enough you're not necessarily going to assume that the artist is one of life's victims.

But Lee is, I think:

Lee, unused to being pleased with anything he did, felt a little glow of satisfaction.

He isn't a hardened graffiti artist. Some buildings are too beautiful to mess up. Usually, he just hides on rooftops, away from his violent and drunken father, and the gangs on his estate, and constant failure at school, and the general squalor of his life.

Up here, on the roof, all the little nastinesses of life seemed far away.

He thinks he's up on the roof to get away from it all. He likes the time and space to sit down and do his drawing - the sketchbook kind - but actually, when Ruby finds her way up onto the roof, he isn't that disappointed.

'Thanks, Lee,' said Ruby suddenly.
'What for?'
'Bringing me here,' she answered.
'You like it, then?'
'I love it. It's like being on top of a mountain. No, a long range of mountains.'
'I suppose that's what these places are,' reflected Lee. 'City mountains.'

When you're in trouble, like Lee is, you really need all the friends you can get, and Ruby's a good one. She's older than him, and steadier, in a slightly whacky way, and she's going to help him sort through his problems, one by one:

'Think about it. You've got to stay strong to help your mum and Darren.'
'I've tried. I just seem to make things worse for them.'
'But they need you.'
'They'd probably be better off without me.'
'That's stupid.'
'Is it?'
'Of course it is. Come on. Look around. There's a great big world out there and an even bigger one above us. You can't let things push you under like this.'

It's a matter of self-confidence really. Lee needs to turn on the bullies in his life and stand up for himself.

One of those books where the characters are larger than life and quite unlikely, but lots of fun. The brutishness, on the other hand, feels real enough. Seehow he gets on.Read the book. I think you'll enjoy it.

What can I read next?

Kate Saksena has written another book:

  • Love, Shelley

If you're interested in the people behind the tags, you might enjoy this story by Michael Coleman:

And if you would like to follow up the theme of domestic violence, have a look at this story by Keith Gray:

Or this popular book by Jacqueline Wilson:

Or this brilliant classic by David Klass:

If the general theme of bullying occupies your thoughts, you could have a look at this book by Nicky Singer:

And if you would like to follow Marcus King as he rages against authority, have a look at this enjoyable book by Jonathan Kebbe:

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