Twelve-year-old Bella Kerr is a darts prodigy. And when she finds out that her little brother's special schooling is at risk because of lack of money, Bella secretly enters a darts competition at the local pub. The "old boys'" network of darts players are not happy - none more than the gold-suited charmer, Frankie "Goldfinger" Phillips - a five-time national champion, who will do anything to stop Bella qualifying for nationals.
Laced with humour and chock-full of nail-biting drama, this award-winning book is story-telling at its best! Guthrie writes with a lightness of touch that makes a game of darts compelling reading!
Winner of the Storylines 2018 Tim Fitzgibbon Award.
Bullseye Bella grabbed my attention as a good book for my ten year old daughter to read. She is getting into more of a variety of books now - and I like that I can find some that defy the stereotypes, break the rules and give her something to think about as she moves to the teenage years.
In terms of the physical book, it is a nice looking book with simple and striking art on the front, and it definitely makes you wonder what it is about, enough so that my eight year old asked when she saw it sitting waiting to be read. Originally Miss 10 was going to do this review, but I had to take over the reading as school holidays seemed to rob her of reading will! I asked her what sort of age range she thought might enjoy it though and she said probably the 7ish-13 years, and not just girls, boys would too - because it has sports, Mum!
As an adult reading a book aimed at kids, you would think that I may not have enjoyed it, however, sometimes a light hearted read is what you need, rather than one filled with heavy adult tales and woes - after all - adulting sucks sometimes! The story itself centres on twelve-year-old Bella - a fairly average ordinary kid with a huge heart, that discovers she is pretty good at darts! Not really a female oriented sport, it was really nice to see something different in a book. Bella discovers her talent after deciding she needs to help raise funds to keep her Aspergers brother in his private school that he is doing well in.
I do not want to give away too much of the story - but this book has some great themes in it and shows some wonderful traits that I want all my children to have - tenacity, resilience, hard work, compassion, pride, and defying the odds. I really connected with Bella -I guess because I have a daughter a similar age - and could envisage a young, scared out of her mind tween being amazing and having grown men put out that a girl, and a young girl at that was daring to play against them. Bella was a great heroine in this book and I hope that there might be more along these lines, or more with Bella in them!
I wasn't expecting great things from Bullseye Bella, I was simply expecting to while away a couple of hours with a decent book... Instead I found myself laughing out loud, thinking 'this would be fab as a movie' in parts and feeling the tension along with Bella as she moves through the world of competitive darts.
Bella is just an average kid, she doesn't stand out in school and she pretty much keeps to herself. Her sidekick in this book is her younger brother, Max (though predominately called Blackbeard at his insistence) who has Aspergers and is her motivation for joining a local competition. The story moves into things pretty quickly and Bella, with her little brother in tow, end up at the local bar, with Bella hoping to win some money to help keep her brother in his special school. Whilst there she meets a few who'll become friends and then Carver, who ain't too happy to play against a child. Eventually Bella ends up in a national championship, which brings a whole set of troubles and nerves with it.
Bella is such a well thought out, well written character. Sure, she might be a darts prodigy but beyond that she's still just your typical twelve year old child. She gets nervous, easily thrown off her game, scared, cries and when her nerves get the best of her she throws up. She felt so real and relatable, James Guthrie has given us a superb character. Blackbeard is hilarious and provides an element of humour to the book, which is good when the tension really heats up in parts. Franklie 'Goldfinger' Phillips is the main 'villain' of the book, he's charming and charismatic, but we are given little hints as to what's hiding underneath that facade and by the end of the book his true colours are shown.
This book has a good range of emotions, I laughed, I felt sad for Bella and the tension was real when Bella gets to the big time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would love to see it made to hit the big screen. Well worth the read.
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