Third Wheel tells the coming-of-age story of a fourteen-year-old boy named Brady Wilks who is growing up in Las Vegas in 1982. Brady, raised by his grandmother, goes to live with his mother, stepfather, and younger sister after the death of his grandmother. This part of the book is rather sad because his mother treats him like he is unwanted. Because of this family dynamic, Brady hangs out next door most of the time with his best friend Mick. Their other close friend, Brett, moved away with his family to West Virginia. It is only the two of them until they meet a kid named Alex. Alex is a local drug dealer who treats Brady like trash. From the get-go, Alex seems like trouble.
I really enjoyed reading The Third Wheel. The characters are all very well-developed, and readers get to understand the intricate personalities the more the plot thickens. There is a dark cloud over Brady the whole time, however, he tries to make things work with his mom, his friends, and of course, there is a girl. The whole book is told from Brady’s point of view, and even though he does find himself in trouble quite a lot, overall, he’s not a bad kid.
At one point, there is a larger drug deal that Alex arranges, and the whole thing goes awry. One of the kids, Will, gets the key to his dad’s gunshop and “borrows” several guns, including an M16. As they were planning the meetup with the drug dealers, I couldn’t help but think that something very bad was going to go down with a bunch of fourteen to sixteen-year-olds with pistols, shotguns, and assault rifles. This is a very pivotal part of the book, and readers will feel Brady’s wavering hesitation as he partakes in what could only be called a huge betrayal.
As readers follow Brady through his adventures with his friends, he also meets Cheryl, a girl who is four years older than him. As his crush on Cheryl deepens, he is also unsure of where this relationship will go.
There were parts of the book that were hard to read simply because so many people were making fun of Brady and betraying him. I wasn’t sure how much the kid could take. He had no support system and was being taunted at every turn.
Third Wheel is a wonderful read that has an easy pace, interesting characters, and is set in a time when teenagers actually met in person instead of via iPhone.
|Author||Richard R. Becker|
|Page Count||324 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|