The Real Test (Shades 2.0) by Jill Atkins

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The Real Test (Shades 2.0) by Jill Atkins

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A teenager takes his Mum's car without her consent. A reasonable story, pitched at the reluctant reader, but they might find it a bit predictable.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: August 2014
Publisher: Ransom Publishing
ISBN: 978-1781276280

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Ryan had just passed his driving test at the first attempt and he knew it meant that he was a great driver. There was just one snag: his mother wasn't exactly on board about this and wouldn't let him borrow her car. There was always an excuse as to why it just wasn't possible, even when he'd promised his friends that he could have the car so they could go off somewhere. Finally he got his Mum to admit that she was a bit worried about him using it - but she did offer to go out with him so that he could get some practice in. Ryan knew that the time for practicing was past. I mean, he'd passed his test, hadn't he?

Finally, Ryan's patience snapped and he waited until his mother was watching television and he snuck out of the house and took the car to pick up his mate and a couple of girls for an evening out.

The Real Test is part of the shades 2.0 series from Ransom Publishing and it's aimed at reluctant teen readers. I'd read a couple of these before I picked up this book. Death on Toast (Shades 2.0) by John Townsend impressed me with its noirish story and a twist I wasn't expecting. Aftershock by the same author as The Real Test came across well with its use of a natural disaster with which teens would be familiar. After I'd finished the review I was left with a feeling that it might have been just a little bit moralistic so I went in search of another book by the same author.

This time I came away convinced that reluctant readers wouldn't be encouraged to read more by this book. The message which came through to me was that Ryan had been told what his mother thought about him using the car and now look what's happened. The plot is predictable: I knew what was going to happen as soon as Ryan started getting uppity about not being allowed to use the car when he wanted. If reluctant readers are to be encouraged to read they have to see it as a fun way to spend their time - as with the Townsend book - and not as a skill which they have to master so that they can learn how to behave.

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

Teens would enjoy Klaus Vogel and the Bad Lads by David Almond and Vladimir Stankovic.

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Buy The Real Test (Shades 2.0) by Jill Atkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Real Test (Shades 2.0) by Jill Atkins at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Real Test (Shades 2.0) by Jill Atkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Real Test (Shades 2.0) by Jill Atkins at


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