A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard
|A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Moving and thought-provoking, a nice short but engaging story, perfect for pre-teens and teens, both boys and girls.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 218||Date: May 2011|
Skip is a runaway. Shipped around from one foster family to another, he finally plans an escape. Ending up homeless on the streets, he befriends an elderly homeless man called Billy. Just as Skip seems to be finding an unusual kind of stability in his life the city he lives in is suddenly bombed, and overnight his life changes again. Billy and Skip find themselves responsible for three more people: Max, Tia and the baby. Soon they're running away again, but this time to try to save their lives.
I really liked Skip's voice straight away, which is important as he narrates the story. Having him tell us everything gives the whole book a very personal, immediate feel, so you're drawn into his life and care about what happens to him. The relationship between Billy and Skip also works very well. It seems believable between the two of them, and I found it quite moving - not in a cloying, soppy way but just a very genuine friendship between the two of them.
A lot within the story is left to your imagination, which I liked. We don't know the truth about Tia, who she is or where she's from. We never find out what the war is about, why it's happening or what is actually going on, but somehow it's enough to know just that there is a war. I liked the discussion of there being three sides in a war, the third side being those who don't wish to take part. There's lots of thought-provoking ideas within the book but it's pitched at just the right level for pre-teens and younger teens, both girls and boys, to read and enjoy.
The theme of survival also works well within the story, and I liked the rather disturbing setting of an abandoned fun fair as their hideout. I also really enjoyed the interplay between all the characters, and watching the formation of family bonds between such disparate people. There are some occasionally shocking, disturbing moments, but none of it is gratuitous and it always serves to make the story compelling and moving.
On the whole the pacing in the story is well done although towards the end I did feel just occasionally that there were some slow passages and I was eager for the resolution. But it's a short novel, which should appeal to more reluctant readers, and an engaging, well written story.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
For more war time drama, you'll love Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard at Amazon.com.
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