This book should be a hit with boys and girls who love motorcycles and racing. Peter races dirt bikes and is gifted at repairing them. He runs away from his unpleasant foster home and, arriving in a new town, is tricked by three delinquents. One of the boys beats Peter up when he tries to help them. After the fight, they offer him money to join their gang and steal auto parts. He refuses, and they are more angry than before. Another boy, Giff, comes by and invites Peter to come home with him for dinner. Peter's life changes drastically after this. The family is welcoming, although Giff's pretty sister D.C. shows some initial resistance. Giff and .D.C. enjoy dirt bike racing, and they loan Peter an old bike so that he can repair it and race with them. The delinquents continue to make Peter's life miserable. During one race, a delinquent falls off his bike and is in danger of being run over. Peter stops his bike, pulls him from harm's way, and resumes the race. Time lost causes Peter to receive a poor score. Peter is a likeable sixteen-year-old, and is overjoyed when Giff's family asks him to live with them permanently. A glossary of words unique to the sport would be helpful. Part of the new “Matt Christopher Sports Library” series. The text is interesting and free of profanity. This would be a good choice for libraries or as a gift for a favorite young person.
Matt Christopher has taken books from his original sports series and updated them for "The New Matt Christopher Sports Library." This new edition of "Dirt Bike Runaway" is a larger sized book with large print. The updated version appeals to the older reluctant reader. In this story, Peter is a sixteen-year-old runaway living in Florida who has been set up to hot wire a motorcycle. Bullies involved in dirt bike races try to first beat him up, then they ask him to ride in a race, and finally they try to get him to become a thief and steal for them. He refuses, but thankfully a nice guy in the race named Giff offers to let him stay with his family temporarily, and Giff gives him an old motorcycle to fix up and ride in more races. Peter becomes very fond of Giff's sister D.C., who also rides in the races. The trio ride in several races where the bullies try to take them out with illegal moves. But in the end, the good guys win, and Peter gets a new foster family. Students interested in sports and easy reads will enjoy this series.
Garland Independent School District, April 2009