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Changing Gear

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Merrick Hilton's done a runner. His folks think he's studying, but the real world has been calling for years and he can't ignore it any longer. A postie bike, a bedroll and a big sky - that's all he needs. But there's no telling how he'll handle roadkill, stolen oranges and unexpected romance, let alone the rough stuff. And in the real world nothing goes entirely as planne ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 23rd 2018 by ALLEN & UNWIN
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  112 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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This reminded me a little of Herrick's The Simple GiftThe Simple Gift, a homage if you will, a 21st century version.

It explores the role of family, the need for kindness, and connection to nature. Loved it.
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I see you, Scot Gardner. I see the vagabond in you; the rough and tumble philosopher; the man-boy trying to make sense of the world, even after living in it for years; the raconteur; and someone whose love of this land we call home runs as deep as the roots of the trees he walks amongst. I see you because it is all here in this life-affirming, totally disarming novel. Until I finished this book today my favourite Scot Gardner book was The Way We Roll, but now it is this gem. Changing Gear is a t ...more
Kylie Purdie
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once again I've embarked on yearly quest to read all the books shortlisted by the Australian Children's Book Council for their Book of Year Award. As always, I'm starting with the young adult, and Changing Gear is first.

I really liked it. I liked Merrick and Victor and the friendship they formed. I liked the presentation of a teenage boy who isn't completely uncomfortable with himself and isn't tortured about a girl. I like that he wasn't 100% sure about what he wanted and that was ok. I really
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: khs-books
You can totally understand Merrick's point of view, school is over bar the exams, he spends his life travelling between parents who aren't really connected to his life. He is a bit of a missfit at school, not a drinker, a vegetarian and not at all interested in being part of the cool set. He is obsessed with boobs, completely and utterly obsessed with them and internet porn which shows them off, it is quite uncomfortable making! He takes off on his old motorbike and heads out of town on a journe ...more
Adele Broadbent
Merrick is 18 and there is only 2 weeks left before his final exams and the end of his school life. He has always been a good student, but lately his school is concerned that he’s ‘lost his mojo.’

Merrick is struggling with the loss of his grandfather to a sudden heart attack. Grandad taught him how to surf, and how to cope with both his parents remarrying and giving him several stepbrothers/sisters, all the while giving Merrick gems of wisdom along the way.

One morning Merrick makes a sudden deci
Tina Jameson
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every time I read another Scot Gardner I remember why! A little bit gritty, a little bit rude, good humoured even in adversity - and cracking stories, this is no exception. On the face of it the plot is basic - boy fed up, boy runs away from responsibility and decision making, boy drives around a bit suffers some problems and meets people with lots of life experience - boy....well don't want to give away ultimate spoilers ;-) however Scot's characters are rich with believable and engaging detail ...more
WhatBookNext .com
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Merrick is 18 and there is only 2 weeks left before his final exams and the end of his school life. He has always been a good student, but lately his school is concerned that he’s ‘lost his mojo.’

Merrick is struggling with the loss of his grandfather to a sudden heart attack. Grandad taught him how to surf, and how to cope with both his parents remarrying and giving him several stepbrothers/sisters, all the while giving Merrick gems of wisdom along the way.

One morning Merrick makes a sudden deci
Krystal Gagen-Spriggs
This book was a pleasant read. I didn't get hooked but I did want to know how it finished. It was an interesting story of dealing with grief, finding one's self, and understanding that the journey is more important than the destination.
Liz Derouet
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A road trip of a different type, a rich and satisfying read.
My review will appear on my blog soon.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: loveozya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story caputres a two week hiatus in the life of Merrick as Year 12 winds up with two weeks study break prior to HSC exams. Merrick has been in limbo since his grandfather (and mentor) died and after a disastrous party where he ends up in the pool with his phone in his pocket, he decides to head out. No idea where to, but he takes his restored postie bike inland heading north from Portland in South Australia. On this momentous trip, and after his bike chain breaks, Merrick meets an old timer ...more
Scot just gets adolescent boys and what they want to read about. He understands their emotions and takes us on a journey of discovery of the person inside. In Changing Gear, Merrick is about to have his two weeks of study time before his Year 12 exams. However, since his grandfather’s recent death, Merrick misses his steadying influence and with a split family he finds it easy to have them believe he is studying hard at the other parent’s house, whilst in reality he has hopped on
his old postie b
A really great read. Gardner captures the Australian voice and attitude so well. It’s nice to see a story about a young adult who has a lot going for him who is able to branch out and work on himself without hysterics. The family relationships are really positive in the family despite the divorce and blended families. The strong bond with the grandfather is particularly comforting despite his grief. Lots of humour along with lots to think about.
June Frost
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
It was set in countryside that I know quite well, Western Victoria, so this provided another dimension for me. Some of the narrative was a little forced I thought, I don't think 18year olds generally talk like that. However, it did provide some insight into pressures that are faced and the idea that those closest to you are often those that you take foregranted the most.
Kerri Jones
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short-listed for the CBC Awards 2019 I really didn’t know what I was in for after reading the first 30 pages but once I really opened my mind, WOW! This is a coming-of-age story of massive proportions and written so well with characters that will touch your heart.
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A genuine, believable guy, looking to escape the sense of being smothered and family angst that comes with bearing the burden of parent's expectations. Quirky characters and an interesting insight into alternative lifestyle choices.
Pam Saunders
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Scot Gardner, you have done it again. A book which explores a teenagers angst and grief, explored and resolved.

Perfect book for the boys secondary school I am at. My only niggle is the cover is quite junior and their is some more 'adult' content.

Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic young adult novel. A rite of passage story of 18 year old Merrick Hilton. Wonderful.
Glenn Capelli
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If I was still teaching high school English, I’d weave this book into the minds/hearts of students. A way to find a swag of wisdom whilst walking the world.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Solid story about a boy taking off during stu vac to clear his head, and doing just that.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Another interesting narrative by Gardner, a story about a boy, a road trip, a friendship... and the complexities of human emotion.
Wendy Bridges
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the third Scot Gardner book I've read... the man is a superstar! His characters display such truth. I loved every minute of my time in the world of Merrick.
Kate Atkinson
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cbca
Scot Gardner captures raw emotion once again in this coming-of-age, soul-searching, road trip to epiphany.
Jul 22, 2019 added it
Great story, suited to older students, year 9+, mature themes.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cbca-shortlists
As the mother of a boy fast approaching his teen years, I found this one challenging. That probably means it’s perfect for the target audience. A teen travel tale with a uniquely Australian flavour.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
An enjoyable read by Gardner. A coming of age story with well drawn characters that provides a myriad of differences other than normal.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gardner really gets it. He encapsulates the Australian teenage experience so well. This book added fuel to the fire of my obsession with Australian lit.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Felt familiar. And funny. And cathartic.
Jodie Warner
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-ya, cbca-2019
Another CBCA short-listed book for older readers and it’s a pretty solid read. I liked that it was probably written for a different demographic (I hate gendering books but this is written for older boys). It’s funny in parts and has enough balance so that the philosophy counteracts the farting and general grossness and vice versa.

Merrick Hilton has finished year 12 and takes off during swot vac on a walking journey of self-discovery. He walks and meets highway man, Victor, who has been walking t
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tfic
Saving this review for Book Club!
Not any more! Loved this book- it’s my best read of 2019.
Coming of age, road trip, swagman, friendship, violence, step families, becoming comfortable with who you are- love this book!!!!!
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Scot Gardner wasn't born reading and writing; in fact, he left school in year eleven to undertake an apprenticeship in gardening with the local council. He has worked as a waiter, masseur, delivery truck driver, home dad, counselor, and musician.

These days he spends half the year writing and half the year on the road talking to people about his books and the craft of writing.

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