Thanks to Zephyr Press for involving me in this book tour – released on October 11th (2018)
Genre: Contemporary Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4/5 stars Series: Standalone
Humorous and heartbreaking debut novel with the fresh, funny, honest voice of a 14-year-old Geordie lad recounting the trials and tribulations of family life and finding first love.
Danny’s mam has a new boyfriend. Initially, all is good – Callum seems nice enough, and Danny can’t deny he’s got a cool set up; big house, fast car, massive TV, and Mam seems to really like him.
But cracks begin to show, and they’re not the sort that can be easily repaired. As Danny witnesses Mam suffer and Callum spiral out of control he goes in search of his dad. The Dad he’s never met.
Set in Newcastle and Edinburgh, this supremely readable coming-of-age drama tackles domestic violence head on, but finds humour and hope in the most unlikely of places.
This book is a gem, and I’m so glad I took the opportunity to read something outside of my comfort zone. It remains hopeful and uplifting despite the heavy subject matter (TW, domestic abuse). I was sucked into this book, reading it in the hour and a half I sat in the launderette (thankfully it was empty so the tears gathering weren’t observed!).
For me, the standout part of this book was the relationships. They are portrayed vividly, the characters all but walking off the pages. Duffy doesn’t shy away from the complicated nature of love – in fact, he embraces it. We humans are messy creatures, and this book delves into that. Romantic loves takes a back seat to familial relationships, and just what we’re willing to do for those we love.
Danny is a compelling protagonist, struggling with his fears and feeling of hopelessness. His journey (both physical and metaphorical) is one of facing fears and finding hope and love even in dark places. My favourite part was the section in Edinburgh, and watching his relationship with Steve blossom.
The prose is written in Geordie, which sucks you into Danny’s frame of mind. It feels so authentic, and adds another layer of depth to the world. Generally, the slang is understandable given the context, but a few words threw me from time to time.
About the Author:
Malcom Duffy is a Geordie born and bred. His first novel (this book) was inspired by his time at Comic Relief, visiting projects that support women and children who have suffered as a result of domestic abuse.
Visit his website (malcolmduffy.com) or follow him on Twitter.
Read my reviews of other books by Malcolm Duffy: