Steve and Frandan Take on the World by Ron Butlin
|Steve and Frandan Take on the World by Ron Butlin|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: Thrilling and well-nigh believable escapades of three likeable young teens, mistakes, misadventures and all.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: May 2017|
|Publisher: BC Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Like many books for confident readers and teens, our heroes are the victims of cruel bullies – to be precise, as we are well into the twenty-first century here, of the cyber kind. But this isn't some worthy self-help, tell-an-adult book, nor is it a gloomy book about young people who can't see the point of going on. Nope – these guys take the unusual (and, in the light of later events, utterly daft) decision to simply sail away into the sunset, to take a break from civilisation, online Thor and his idiot Viking horde, and the insanities in general of all adults. In their defence, it seems a sensible move at the time...
Steve, Fran, and her twin brother Dan abandon homes, families, school and – or so they think – all their problems for a glorious adventure, drifting lazily down the river on their home-made raft without a care in the world. They've got food, they've remembered the sleeping bags and the tent, they've even got Steve's dog Nessie (not part of the original plan, but she just wouldn't stop barking) and Fran, the brains of the expedition, has instructed them to leave their phones and laptops behind so they don't have to see any vicious comments the mysterious Thor may have posted about them to ruin their fun. Yeah, right – as if the average adolescent is likely to be separated from his social lifeline!
And then the mishaps begin. Some of them are really funny, the type of mistake most readers could just see themselves making, but things quickly turn seriously nasty and the two boys are kidnapped. This leaves brainy Fran to rescue them, which is not as simple as it seems, and despite her best efforts things just get worse and worse, with the occasional light-hearted moment to keep readers glued to the page. Steve has a teeny-tiny crush on Fran, which makes him rather endearing (don't worry, there's no lovey-dovey stuff, it's very much a worship-from-afar sort of thing), Nessie, for all her charms, is a complete failure as a guard dog, and Dan has a regrettable tendency to panic. Loudly.
The book is an easy, cheerful tale with enough peril and comedy to keep readers gripped. The three heroes could be found in any contemporary classroom, and the resolution of their problems is pretty credible. Well worth a read.
If you want to tackle a few more stories about teens having adventures that are, at the very least, fairly possible, try She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick about a blind girl who makes it all the way to America in search of her missing father, and the utterly wacky Liquidator by Andy Mulligan, which will ensure you never look at work experience in the same way again.
You can read more book reviews or buy Steve and Frandan Take on the World by Ron Butlin at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Steve and Frandan Take on the World by Ron Butlin at Amazon.com.
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