When I was a teenager in the 1970s, make-up was in and muscles were out. And that was for the boys. Rugby and other macho sports were a huge turn off. So, many, many years later, at a pub celebrating a big win by my 16-year-old son’s rugby team, I was amazed when all these bright, beautiful girls turned up, dressed as if they were going clubbing. Never one to let a research-opportunity slip, I wandered around quizzing as many as I could on why they were there. The answers astounded me. They liked the tribalism of the team. They liked the fact that the boys had ‘something going on’. They saw it as a challenge.
So I started eavesdropping on the touchline too, and hearing how ferociously loyal the boys were to each other – how much the team and winning mattered. The team’s young coach was very generous with his time, too, giving me lots of insights. It all seemed to be about a lot, lot more than just ‘sport’.
I had trouble publishing the book, though. I’d tried to be as realistic and as honest as I could and it seemed my characters were too raw and nasty to be acceptable! Finally, though, it’s made it into print.
I really, really hope boys read it as well as girls.
This reviewer on Amazon so 'got' the book I had to include it here, with grateful thanks! I think Kate Cann is a fantastic writer anyway, but this book blew me away. I have never read a book which was so true-to-life, especially as I am the same age as Gem and Jack.
I think Jack is a brilliant protagonist, and his deep-down sensitivity was written perfectly!
My favourite book of Kate Cann's, and I would seriously recommend it to all those willing to admit there are problems in society. If you prefer to live in a fluffy bubble, then maybe it isn't the book for you.
This book isn't all raw-society though, it has beautifully scenarios of love and growing maturity.
A fantastic read! Kate Cann is an inspiration!
From The Telegraph: Thank goodness for Kate Cann's Leader of the Pack (Scholastic, £6.99), a racily told old-fashioned teen romance. Jack, 17, lives and breathes rugby. Gemma dreams of getting together with him. Can he stop thinking about the team long enough to notice? Can he fall in love without damaging his game? Suspense is of the painless kind, and cheerfulness is pervading.
"A pink cover and rugby as the main subject of the blurb; it just doesn’t make sense! But let me tell you, this book does make sense. From the very start of the book, Kate Cann absorbs the reader into the raw emotions of the teenage characters, creating a pulse-pounding novel that clutches at the senses. And, unlike most teenage novels, Cann manages to perfectly portray the passions of both teenage sexes, making this story perfect for all young adults. As long as boys will read a book with a pink cover!" Review by 16- year-old Abby Vilder
Being hard is what Jack Slade’s all about. He has no time for weaklings, especially not on his team. He’s captain, and his new coach has helped him realize that anything that interferes with his game is not worth his time.
Gem doesn’t see it that way, though. She fancies Jack like mad, but she doesn’t want to be second best. Gem knows there’s more to Jack, but is that enough to keep them together...