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Under the Radar

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With the same laugh-out-loud humour and street-wise storytelling, 'Under the Radar' is the sequel to 2019 Children’s Book Awards finalist 'Slice of Heaven'.

It’s another year at da MEHS for Sione and his mates, and so far Manawahe East High is living up to its other name of ‘heart attack high school’. For a start there are the girls like Lani and Wiki and the way they make things so complicated, and the mysterious new girl who’s somehow Sione’s responsibility. As if that wasn’t enough, some of his old softball team have become wannabe gangstas and are putting pressure on him to join their crew.

Outside the schoolyard, real gangs are circling, and a giant guy called Turtle has Sione in his sights. It seems that Sione’s plan to stay under the radar this year is harder than he thought.

302 pages, Paperback

Published July 11, 2021

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About the author

Des O’Leary

2 books3 followers
Des O’Leary started life in Greymouth and has taught at high schools in Fiji, Whakatāne and Kerikeri, and at Aorere College in South Auckland, where he took softball and rugby league teams and helped with the Samoan culture group. He is now a relief teacher at Papamoa College, Tauranga. He lives in the Bay of Plenty with his wife, Hazel. Slice of Heaven is his first novel.

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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Profile Image for Kathleen Dixon.
3,621 reviews60 followers
April 16, 2023
This book is set the year on from Slice of Heaven, in which a few teens are given a chance to get out of a cycle of trouble-making and detentions by becoming a softball team and playing for their school. This year, Sione wants to stay under the radar but he's a typical teenager - he says dopey things sometimes which get everybody laughing, he does dopey things sometimes which go viral, he gets tongue-tied around a couple of pretty girls. And then there are friends from last year who are now wannabe gangstas and are "encouraging" him to join them - and they're in rival groups. And there's the huge, deep-voiced real-life gangsta who he keeps running into and that's not good. But through it all, Sione tries to be calm, and helpful, and he's a genuinely nice kid.

A lot of nothing-much happens in this feel-good book set in South Auckland, as the plot meanders slowly towards a few pages of action and an excellent wrap-up. At the same time a lot of things happen in a "year-in-the-life-of" kind of way, and they do actually set it all up for the climax and culmination. The setting is so accurate, there are some very funny moments, the voices are spot-on, and the school sports day had me wishing I'd grown up in South Auckland (instead of staid central Auckland's boring events).

Ka pai, Mr O'Leary.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
139 reviews37 followers
August 19, 2021
The thing that I really like about Des O'Leary's books is the sense of time and place - the characters are teenagers in South Auckland. I'll be interested to read some reviews of these books by kids to see if they rate them too (I think they will).
Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews

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