CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 25. . . .February 28, 2014
The Bike Thief is your prototypical story of a good boy gone bad who ultimately tries to redeem himself. The story follows the main protagonist, Nick, 16, who falls into the dark underbelly of crime and must deal with its perils.
The story opens with Nick in a pawn shop trying to replace the flat screen TV that his little sister broke. Since the children are living with foster parents, the Radlers, Nick feels that they will be removed from this placement if the Radlers find out about the TV, and so Nick decides to purchase a replacement for one hundred dollars. The only problem is that Nick does not have the money. Enter Dwayne, the seedy pawn shop owner who makes a deal with Nick: in order to pay off his debt, Nick will have to assemble a crew to steal and rebuild luxury bikes. And so begins Nick’s career as a bike thief.
At first, Nick’s new career as a bike thief is exciting for Nick because he loves to rebuild bikes. However, he soon learns that the criminal syndicate that he is dealing with wants Nick and his friends to join their gang. They keep upping his debt, hoping that Nick will become desperate enough to sell drugs for them. The book’s climactic finale ends with Nick realizing that his ordinary life is a lot better than a life of crime.
Ultimately, the Bike Thief is a highly engaging read as it takes readers on a fast-paced journey through the criminal underworld of bike thieves. The plot, itself, is very believable as it shows the realities of human error and how one mistake has the potential to snowball into catastrophe. Moreover, Rita Feutl has created characters with which the reader can sympathize. Nick is not a bad kid; he just got involved with the wrong people. In the end, everyone can relate to that situation.
Teresa Iaizzo is a Senior Library Assistant with the Toronto Public Library in Toronto, ON.
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