By Lara Williamson, published by Usborne.
Goodreads Synopsis: I’m Dan Hope and deep inside my head I keep a list of things I want to come true.
For example, I want my sister, Ninja Grace, to go to university at the North Pole and only come back once a year.
I want to help Sherlock Holmes solve his most daring mystery yet. And if it could be a zombie mystery, all the more exciting.
I want to be the first eleven-year-old to land on the moon.
I want my dog to stop eating the planets and throwing them up on the carpet.
And finally, the biggest dream of all, I want my dad to love me.
A Boy Called Hope is a brave, bold and funny debut about family in all its shapes and sizes.
My Review: Upon finishing this, I literally had no words. I was actually speechless: I wasn’t expecting such a poignant, beautifully written, heart-breaking-and-heart-warming story- from a debut novel! As soon as I’d finished the last chapter (for the fourth time) I knew this had to be my new favourite title of the year. A Boy Called Hope is set to become an outstanding, award winning novel, I’m sure, thanks to the unforgettable plot and the beautiful writing style.
A Boy Called Hope is about Dan, an eleven year old whose dad left his family years ago. His father is now famous, his dog keeps eating everything, his sister is a Word Ninja, and his friend is obsessed with religious artifacts. Dan’s story is about his search to see if his dad, who never kept contact, still loves him. Along the way there he has to face so many other difficulties: family-wise and friendship-wise. Lara Williamson has captured an eleven year old’s voice perfectly! The story was so believable. I didn’t want to let go of the characters, and the story, when I was nearing the end. It was reminiscent of John Green’s and Annabel Pitcher’s writing, as it was brutally honest and emotional.
Dan is really three-dimensional character. He’s funny at points, clever at others, and always carries this inspiring amount of hope with him wherever he goes. Dan put a smile on my face with every page and I’m sure every reader will fall in love with his personality. His story is so heartwarming. At the same time, it’s also heartbreaking. A Boy Called Hope covers a lot of issues, though mainly it’s about a father-son relationship. I think Lara captured that bond, and the effects of it breaking, so effectively. It brought tears to my eyes- happy ones as well as sad ones! His family life is complicated, but I could connect to all of the characters in his life in one way or another. The ending for Dan’s family was sad in one aspect, though brilliant and uplifting in another!
Overall, A Boy Called Hope is a 2014 debut that you do not want to miss, whatever age you are. The writing is beautiful, honest, and enjoyable: Lara Williamson made me feel like I was really reading a diary from an eleven year old boy. Her writing is honest, heart-wrenchingly sad and powerful… but it’s uplifting and fun too. The plot is so unpredictable- a real roller-coaster, and the ending was definitely not what I expected! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love with the characters and the ending will make you itch for more about Dan and his unforgettable life. A Boy Called Hope isn’t to be missed- it’s essential for Middle-Graders and up… make sure to look out for it in March!
I received a copy of A Boy Called Hope from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.