Book Review “Dirt Bomb” by Fleur Beale

Dirt BombDirt Bomb
Written by Fleur Beale
Reviewed by Katharine Derrick

Teaching notes available at

Jake’s life is sweet. No worries about money (best mate Buzz’ll pay), so no need to get a job. It’s the summer holidays and school seems a million years away so no need to worry over subjects or the future. And at home Gramps does most of the cooking and cleaning, as long as Jake can avoid him that is. Jake’s only responsibility is making sure his other best mate, Robbie, doesn’t go into a daydream while riding his bike and end up flattened by a passing car.  The day the three of them discover a wrecked car in a ditch and decide to rescue it and turn it into a paddock basher is the day Jake’s life starts to change. For one thing Buzz says he’s no longer going to pay for everything. Robbie gets a job but Jake refuses – that’s just not his style – but will the others let him in on the paddock basher if he can’t pay his way?

Dirt Bomb is about 16 to 17-year-old boys testing new limits and Beale covers most of them – extreme sports (the paddock basher), alcohol, first girlfriend, first job, future career plans.  Beale has certainly done her homework on teenage boys and has produced a well written book, with an authentic voice (there’s lots of colourful teenage boy language peppered throughout) and above all has delivered a great read. I’m not a teenage boy and I don’t have teenage sons but I was up until midnight one night unable to put it down! And once again Beale’s writing acumen has seen Dirt Bomb selected as a finalist in the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards. I would recommend this book for ages 13+.

Beale, Fleur. Dirt Bomb, Random House, Auckland, 2011.

For nore information on rebuilding a car engine:
If your school doesn’t have an automotive or mechanics department you could talk to your local mechanic or polytechnic for more information on reconstructing car engines. Trade Me also has loads of owner workshop manuals available for a variety of car makes and models.

For more information on driver licenses go to:

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