Chris is a perfectly normal, happy teen, who loves nothing better than messing about with his best mate Declan, who he's known since nursery school, and working on content for their comedy double act. Then one day, Dec is late for school and the headmaster makes a shock announcement that will throw Chris's world into turmoil - Declan has been killed in a tragic road accident. Chris is literally struck dumb, totally unable to speak as he struggles to come to terms with his grief.
Author Simon Packham really manages to get into the mindset of the troubled teens he writes about. The scene in the school assembly when the shock announcement is made really took me back to a similar day in my own childhood, when we learned that a whole family had been wiped out in a car crash. Facebook tribute pages didn't exist back then but the whole kids walking around in tears and tree-planting ceremony/tribute assembly was the same as in the book.
Declan's struggle to comprehend that his best mate will never be back, then self-recrimination as he blames himself for his death and spirals out of control are also totally realistic and heart-rending. The supporting cast of characters are believable and well-defined. There are no one-dimensional characters here, which is why it all seems so realistic.
It's a simple read that will appeal to teens because it is direct and straight-talking. There is no flowery prose or psychobabble trying to teach the reader how to deal with grief. It just takes a normal teen boy in exceptional circumstances and shows how he tries his best to deal with them. Having a male teen as the central character will also appeal to teen boys who are notoriously reluctant readers.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6.99
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Piccadilly Press (1 Jun 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848122101
- ISBN-13: 978-1848122109
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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