Book Author Damien Wilkins
Rights Available World excl. NZ 

Fifteen-year-old Ricky lives in Aspiring, a town that’s growing at an alarming rate. Ricky’s growing, too — 6’7”, and taller every day. But he’s stuck in a loop: student, uncommitted basketballer, and puzzled son, burdened by his family’s sadness. And who’s the weird guy in town with a chauffeur and half a Cadillac? What about the bits of story that invade his head? Uncertain what’s real — and who he is — Ricky can’t stop sifting for clues. He has no idea how things will end up . . .

With sunlight, verve and humour, award-winning writer Damien Wilkins brings us a beguiling boy who’s trying to make sense of it all.

Teacher notes available.

Winner of the Young Adult Fiction Award at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children And Young Adults 2020

About the Author
Damien Wilkins
has published novels, collections of short stories and a book of poems. He has written for television and theatre. He also writes and records his own songs as The Close Readers. His work has won several awards, including, for The Miserables (1993), the New Zealand Book Award. He lives in Wellington, where he is the Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University.


Massey University Press


210 x 138mm



Young Adult

Age range

Publication Date
March 2020

Rights Available:
World excl. NZ

Rights Agents:

Nicola Legat
Massey University Press

Contact Massey University Press about this book

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Award-winning writer Damien Wilkins never set out to write a YA novel, but young male readers will be glad he did. . . . Described as a “hymn to the internal lives of boys today”, Aspiring is a must-read for any boy who is in need of such an anthem.

New Zealand Herald

Aspiring is a cleverly crafted and uniquely positive portrayal of a young man making his mark his way in a small but largely untapped world. The story is one you want to stick with, an elaborate yarn told with honesty and hope, mixed with just enough Kiwi quirkiness to smile about in each chapter.

The Sapling

Aspiring is not realism. It’s more playful than that, more exaggerated. Large characters, major events, huge emotions. No, I needn’t have worried. Aspiring is thunderously good — poignant, kind, funny and packed with story.

Breton Dukes, Landfall Review Online