Death on Toast (Shades 2.0) by John Townsend

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Death on Toast (Shades 2.0) by John Townsend

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A great book for the teen boy who is a reluctant reader, with subjects which are relevant to their lives and a great build up of tension.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: August 2014
Publisher: Ransom
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781276389

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Freddy has the ultimate disadvantage of having rich parents. Well, actually, I guess it's not so much that they're rich as that they're far too busy doing what they want, have to do to take much if any notice of Freddy and what he's doing. He's left on his own - often overnight - to do exactly as he wants to do. And what Freddy wants to do is to watch horror DVDs. Who's to say whether it was the DVDs or his parents lack of interest which drove him to do what he did, but whichever it was, Freddy does something from which there is no return.

Death on Toast has been written with the reluctant reader in mind. It's short - just fifty three pages of the story - but it is a good story which builds up to a great ending. We get to know Freddy well - he's one of those repulsive beings for whom you can't help but have just a sneaking sympathy for the way that things have worked out. He's not lacking in intelligence and he has a very dark sense of humour. Teens reading this are going to be torn between envying Freddy his freedom to do what he wants and feeling pity for the lack of love and parental care in his life.

The format of the book is designed to help the reluctant reader. The text is printed in a very clear font and it's double spaced and the pages are matt finish and very slightly off white which makes for easier reading - not just for those who have a problem, but for most people. If the pages were just a little thicker, preventing any shadow of the print on the other side from coming through I'd recommend this as being dyslexia friendly. In fact - if the shadow is not a problem this book would otherwise fit the bill.

I can understand the publisher's reluctance to put anything on the cover to show that this is a book for reluctant readers - young people don't want to labeled as somehow sub-standard, but a peel-off sticker would draw in the people buying the books. The book is aimed at the twelve+ age group but has a reading age of nine to ten. Some indication of the interest and reading age (for instance in the format 'IA12+/RA9-10' on the back cover, which could be done very discreetly) would help. This is a book which could encourage teenage boys to read and I'd love for it to come to a wider audience.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Girls who are reluctant readers might enjoy Shadow Girl by Sally Nicholls. Boys wanting more might appreciate Klaus Vogel and the Bad Lads by David Almond and Vladimir Stankovic.

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Buy Death on Toast (Shades 2.0) by John Townsend at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Death on Toast (Shades 2.0) by John Townsend at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Death on Toast (Shades 2.0) by John Townsend at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Death on Toast (Shades 2.0) by John Townsend at


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