ARC Review: READ BETWEEN THE LINES by Malcolm Duffy

I received an ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in black on blued lined paper
Genre: Contemporary
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for READ BETWEEN THE LINES: title in black on blue lined paper coming out of envelope with face-like

Two very different boys, one new family, a shared struggle, and a big secret.

Ryan didn’t want a new mum, let alone a new brother! But hwne his parents split up and his dad moves in with Naomi, she comes with Tommy – one year older, chucked out his old school, and now joining Tyan’s class. Great. Suddenly sharing a home and classroom with a complete stranger is a bit much.

Flung together, the two boys clash, but gradually realise they are more similar than they thought.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


It’s always a joy to get my hands on a Malcolm Duffy books. These are UKYA stories, rooted in the overlooked north, that tackle big topics with lots of heart. This is no different.

I love love love seeing ND stories out there – every one is a shot of happiness at seeing the rep (which is so scant on the ground.) And the fact that the boys’ dyslexia is only part of the story? Even better. Like anyone who is neurodiverse, the boys are so much more than their dyslexia. They have pasts and tensions and emotions and lives.

It’s a book about divorce and finding new partners, and the impact that has on relationships, and making new families. It’s about two teenage boys flung together and finding a way to make friends despite some bit experience and interest gaps.

Also, Ryan is a complete idiot and I loved the way he grew. I was cringing through his opening actions, because you know it’s going to go horrifically. But you also understand why he’s doing that and just hope he sees how stupid it is before too late so he and Tommy have a chance to be friends.

Both POVs are told in the first person but it’s so easy to tell them apart. Ryan was raised in the north (can’t remember if the exact region was mentioned) and it shows in his dialect, using words like “scran” for food. By contrast, Tommy is a southerner, suburban London, using a dialect much more like my own. It made it really easy to work out who was speaking (and also the chapters alternated.)

Read my reviews of other books by Malcolm Duffy:



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