One Step

Andrew Daddo

One Step
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One Step

Andrew Daddo

At 15, Dylan is struggling. He’s struggling with his explosive acne that has declared war on his face, struggling with his pushy younger sister, struggling with his nagging mum and her lame and misguided attempts to ‘connect’ with him, struggling with his dad who never seems to have time for him anymore, struggling with his retarded old phone-me-down courtesy of Hamish Banning pushing him and his iPhone off Jump Rock into the harbour, and he’s struggling with his constant preoccupation with sex combined with his complete inability to attract any girl.

Struggling, but surviving.

But when his English teacher reads out Dylan’s creative writing piece to the class, revealing him to be a sensitive and perhaps promising writer (though in some classmates' opinion, pretty gay), it sets off a chain of events, including unlikely interest from a few hot girls and a viscous physical and verbal bullying attack, which sends Dylan on a frantic roller coaster of emotions culminating in a revelation that could make or break his survival.


Having faced bullying as a teenager I’ve always been attracted to novels that tackle the topic. The feeling of dreading going to school and worrying how to fit in can be all consuming, heck, being a teenager is all consuming, which is why I think that novels like One Step are so important for young adults to read as the situations in it are all too real for so many.

Dylan is your typical teenage boy. He worries about his looks, thinks about the opposite sex constantly and finds his parents unbearable at times, while in other moments wishing they would show him some affection. And, like so many teenagers, Dylan is bullied at school. It only takes one person to make your life a living hell and Hamish Banning is Dylan’s one person. While life with Hamish wasn’t always bad, a comment here, a trip there, it all comes to a head when Dylan, unintentionally, causes humiliation to Hamish in English class, and Dylan must pay.

While all this is going on, Dylan’s crush, the very popular Gracie, is starting to pay Dylan some attention, his best friend, Ryan begins acting weird and issues at home between his parents escalate. Dylan’s world starts to spin out of control and he isn’t really sure how to cope with it.

Dylan is an endearing character; funny, sweet and frustrating, exactly what so many teenagers are. The treatment he faces will, unfortunately, resonate with many readers, however it is so important that these stories are read so that victims of bullying can know that they are not alone, that it is not their fault and that bullies can see what impact their actions can have on a person. Highly recommended for both sexes ages 13 and up.

Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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