From the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Best Book for Younger Readers, Red House Children's Book Award, the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 5 to 12 year olds and the Blue Peter Best Story Book Award 2013, comes the eighth amazing instalment of this brilliant, illustrated series in diary format.
I'm a big fan of the Tom Gates books. As an adult I enjoy reading them. The language is easy enough, and the layout is relaxed. There is normal prose with lots of fun doodles all over the page, and little "in jokes" scribbled along the margins and things as well. I also like Tom as a character. He is a cheeky lad, but mostly good at heart.
When my eldest daughter saw the cover to this book, she was quite keen to have it read to her. The sheer thickness of the book put her off trying to read it herself, but she is still finding her reading-feet, so this was fair enough. Personally I think she could read this book herself with a bit of help. A more confident 7 years + reader would rock this out.
I haven't read Tom Gates aloud properly before, apart from a few pages here and there. So it was new to read the whole thing aloud. I needed to find the voices, and I was so pleased that Tom reads aloud even better than in my head. I could feel his tone coming through nicely, and as I read his words I could see the wicked glee of his cutting words towards Marcus or Delia.
My daughter had many knowing nods about the school and class room moments. She is very wary of illness and spreading germs and there is a bit about that in the book. She could also relate to just the normal day-to-day of school time and the doodling. She enjoyed looking at the pictures and things that breaks the story up a bit.
The title of the book was a bit cryptic at first for me. But I now get it, having gotten 3/4 of the way through the book. I must admit that I really related to that aspect of Tom highlighted in this book. I am not a decisive person. I need to be given two or three choices and then time to make a decision. Making choices is hard work, and if you have to make more than one decision in a day - even harder! I think that aspect was written really well, right down to that anxiety of the possible bad decision.
The only negative I have about this book is that there is quite a lot going on. It seemed to be four or five sub plots, and we were visiting Tom for a period of time where he is working through all those things. Still it was entertaining. I thought at one point that I had worked something out with one of the subplots early, but I hadn't at all so that was neat. Even as an adult I was kept guessing!
Random listing from 'Books'...
13 year old Ronan Truelove leaves school one day and discovers he is a member of The Blood Guard, an ancient order of protectors. He will acquire invaluable skills, learn that he has magical talents he never dreamed of, rescue his parents from certain death, and finally, fall for the wrong girl and overlook the right one. Only then will he find out his true purpose; guarding a geeky girl computer genius, and by saving her, save the world.
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