Sean and Mason form a diving friendship. As the main characters in Spearo they imbue the story with realism, action and understated male emotions.
Mary-Anne Scott does a great job in providing the reader with credible teenage voices facing a myriad of challenges from immigration, being the odd one out, coping with family and relationship issues - to finally coming of age.
Sean who recently relocated to New Zealand from his family’s safari ranch in Zimbabwe contrasts with and affirms a kiwi culture displayed in Mason who is a ‘mad keen’ spear fisher as opposed to the usual pig hunter.
Both characters support each other in various ways that consolidate their friendship and provide thematic continuity.
Sean observes Mason struggling with editing a media clip and offers to help. “You have to take the soundtrack off to edit the clip.”
Mason offers Sean advice on his first pool dive with a snorkel, “Put your snorkel in and swim around on the surface.”
Tension is introduced through Nicole, Mason's sister, who through a misunderstanding repeatedly antagonises Sean. This tension escalates when the boys and Nicole enter a national spearfishing competition. Nicole says “We’re in a tournament right now and you want to sulk about turns? You know you won’t shoot anything if you dive”.
Free diving and fish spearing skills are developed by both characters which not only entertains the reader but informs, describing the technical skills and strategies required.
Although the subject made me feel a bit squeamish at times, this is an entertaining and informative story that held my attention. Spearo will appeal equally to those who are adventurous or aspiring to be.
Author: Mary-anne Scott
Publisher: One Tree House
Date of Publication: February, 2020
Reviewer: Michele Ayres, Librarian, Motueka High School, Tasman
How highly are you recommending this book? Recommended
What’s the books’ opening sentence? Sean slid into a vacant workstation on the mezzanine floor above the library where Mrs Roberston let students hang out on computers during their breaks.