Skater Boy (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
In this YA pop punk debut about queer romance and destroying labels, a teen risks everything to write his own story. Perfect for fans of Sonora Reyes and Adib Khorram.
Stonebridge High’s resident bad boy, Wesley “Big Mac” Mackenzie, is failing senior year—thanks to his unchecked anger, rowdy friends, and a tendency to ditch his homework for skateboarding and a secret photography obsession. So when his mom drags him to a production of The Nutcracker, Wes isn’t interested at all . . . until he sees Tristan Monroe. Mr. Nutcracker himself.
Wes knows he shouldn’t like Tristan; after all, he’s a ballet dancer, and Wes is as closeted as they come. But when they start spending time together, Wes can’t seem to get Tristan out of his head. Driven by a new sense of purpose, Wes begins to think that—despite every authority figure telling him otherwise—maybe he can change for the better and graduate on time.
As a falling out with his friends becomes inevitable, Wes realizes that being himself means taking a stand—and blowing up the bad-boy reputation he never wanted in the first place.
From a debut author to watch, Skater Boy delivers a heart-wrenching, validating, and honest story about what it means to be gay in a world where you don’t fit in.
About the Author
Anthony Nerada became a writer after his fifth-grade teacher told him it was his destiny. Since then, he’s read too many books (if there is such a thing) and explored worlds far outside the reaches of his own. Anthony holds a BA in psychology and two diplomas (one in public relations, the other in publishing), which allow him to write the day away while simultaneously psychoanalyzing his friends. Anthony lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Coast Salish Peoples. Skater Boy is his debut novel.
Praise for Skater Boy
An ABA Kids’ Indie Next Pick for March/April 2024
Indigo’s Most Anticipated Teen Books
“He was a punk (with a secret soft center). Skater Boy is a perceptive, vividly emotional, complicated love story, told with candor and compassion. Can I make it any more obvious that you should drop everything and read it?”
—Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
“A poignant unraveling of the binds spun by toxic masculinity. Skater Boy kept me rooting for the disaster boy to find his way.”
—Xiran Jay Zhao, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Iron Widow
“A picture-perfect coming-of-age novel that will skate away with your heart.”
—Eric Geron, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Tale of Two Princes
“Skater Boy drew me in from the very first page and was absolutely unputdownable! Not only does Nerada turn stereotypes on their head in his brilliantly nuanced debut, but he does it while writing something universally relatable and utterly charming. Wes Mackenzie puts the oo in swoony!”
—Lynn Painter, New York Times bestselling author of Better Than the Movies
“Nerada offers a nuanced and realistic glimpse into the pressure and the chaos and the growing pains of being a teenager, and what can happen when you open up and share your full, true self. A brilliant debut.”
—Rachael Lippincott, New York Times bestselling author of She Gets the Girl
“Skater Boy is the beautifully written, poignant story of Wes, an angry, lonely boy struggling to find his place in the world. Anthony Nerada deftly handles Wes’s character arc as he learns to love himself. An impressive debut.”
—Liz Lawson, New York Times bestselling author of The Agathas, The Night in Question and The Lucky Ones
“In his witty and vulnerable debut, Nerada reminds us that labels are pointless, love is for everyone and that it is a truth universally known that everybody LOVES a 'bad boy' with a skateboard and a heart of gold. Honest, authentic and charming, Skater Boy skillfully highlights that queer kids can't be put into a box! A voice to watch!”
—Amber McBride, National Book Award finalist and author of Me (Moth)
“Wes Mackenzie is one of the most authentic and refreshingly angry main characters I’ve read in a long time, and I ate up every word of his journey. Skater Boy is spectacularly queer and witty, and I have no doubt Anthony Nerada's debut will become a beloved addition to bookshelves everywhere.”
—Robbie Couch, New York Times bestselling author of If I See You Again Tomorrow
“Anthony Nerada shows, with the perfect mix of punks, bros, and ballerinos, that you can't judge a book by its cover, and that sometimes we have to go through the roughest points of our lives to discover truths about ourselves. Skater Boy had my heart from the jump!”
—Jason June, New York Times bestselling author of Out of the Blue
“I have a soft spot for angry gays, and Skater Boy delivers one of YA’s all-time angriest! Wes is perfectly imperfect: defensive, emotional, and no, he does not have college figured out yet, thank you. Anthony Nerada is a fresh new voice adding to the much-needed growing wave of ill-behaved queer protagonists. I love love LOVED this one!”
—Adam Sass, award-winning author of The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers and Your Lonely Nights Are Over
“A fun, fiery love story for the misunderstood, Skater Boy is the nostalgic, opposites-attract gay romance we deserve! A confectionary pop smash that takes inspiration from its namesake, Nerada has crafted a power ballad of a coming out story for the mainstream punk rocker in all of us.”
—Steven Salvatore, critically acclaimed author of And They Lived . . .
“Skater Boy is like a shaken up bottle of teen angst and first love. While examining masculinity and peer pressure, Anthony Nerada captures those complicated feelings of self-discovery and finding your place while providing endless swoons and laughs.”
—Robby Weber, author of I Like Me Better
“I loved this book . . . [Skater Boy is] about the importance of being yourself, not letting your friend group define you or your future. It's something that a lot of teens can relate to, and it also depicts a lot of healthy romantic relationships.”
—The Homestretch, CBC Radio
“Boy meets boy in this heartfelt YA romance that celebrates pop punk, finding yourself, and taking charge of your life.”
“[Skater Boy] is a pop-punk storyline that pushes past the norms of young adult romance and creates a new genre of story.”
—Young Entertainment Magazine
“Deftly navigating (justified) teen angst with a humorous voice and unmatched compassion . . . Skater Boy destroys labels and points directly at systemic failings we’ve had a propensity to overlook . . . Nerada’s characters compel the story forward, pushing against the oppressive, frustrating isolation of their respective archetypes and finding themselves wholly realized. Do yourself a favor, get to know the skater boy.”
—The Southern Bookseller Review
“A closeted teen navigates family trauma, first crushes, and messy friendships in Nerada’s introspective debut . . . Nerada sensitively depicts the lingering effects of Wes’s father’s abuse, and how the trauma from those experiences informs his complicated relationship with himself and others, as well as with opening up.”
“An endearing and nuanced debut . . . Nerada portrays characters with caring complexity, particularly Wes’ mother, and presents readers with multifaceted relationships. While Tristan encourages and challenges Wes, Wes’ character growth is, refreshingly, not dependent on their relationship, and healthy friendships are as central to the story as the boys’ romance.”
“Nerada’s well-written, character-driven first novel is a compelling read with highly empathic characters who will resonate with readers. Getting to know them keeps the pages turning to the satisfying ending.”