Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review - Pike – Anthony McGowan – Barrington Stoke - Review - Challenged Reader

Anthony Mcgowan and Barrington Stoke have published the much anticipated sequel to 2013 award winning book BROCK, [press here to read our 3D review of Brock]. In Pike, we return to the world of Nicki and his older brother Kenny a year after they saved a badger pup from a grizzly death by baters. The boy’s lives have improved; their dad has a job, a girlfriend, but money is still tight so the brothers enjoy the simple pursuits in life, like fishing in Bacon Pond.

It’s by Bacon Pond where there adventure starts, when their Jack Russell gets into deep water, and Nicki goes into to save her, he sees something lurking under the murky water; a hand, and a watch. The watch is a Rolex, and only one person in the town has the money for one of those, ‘Mick Bowen’. And Mick went missing after Nicki and Kenny’s dad told the police that the stolen goods found in their shed last year belonged to him.

Nicki hatches a plan, to get the Rolex and fence it for cash to help his family. Together the boys build a raft out of a palette, Kenny following Nicki loyally, and all is going well until their endeavours stir up memories from a happier times - feelings which were buried deep. When Nicki confronts his dad about why their mother left, the boys bond fractures.

Nicki continues his plan to plunder the Rolex, and we see the boy’s relationship evolve and reverse as Kenny becomes more of a leader looking out for his younger brother.

Like Brock, Pike is an engaging tale, with its sparse word count it evokes lovely images and explores further the themes of family, secrets, determination and resilience. It’s also a refreshing change to read a book which is about working class children living on the breadline rather than middle class privileged children.

Pike is great read for challenged young adult readers, but also as a quick read for more advanced readers too.

We'll be posting more PIke features in the next couple of days, with both an interview with author Anthony McGowan and Editor Mairi Kidd.

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