The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin

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The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Quirky and thoughtful, funny and weird, this is unusual and yet easy to read!
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 336 Date: July 2018
Publisher: Faber & Faver
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780571326785

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Elvis Crampton Lucas was found, as a baby, on a bench at the zoo. He knows little else about himself, other than that's where his father found him one day and he took him home and named him after the first three vinyl records he took down from the shelf! Elvis' life has been a happy one, but as his twelfth birthday comes around he finds himself suddenly wanting to know, and needing to know, the truth about who left him on the bench and why. Elvis' quest takes him far away, to a new country, facing challenges he'd never imagined in his desire to know the truth.

When I first picked the book up, I wasn't entirely sure about the style. It's one of those quirky books and a little unusual in places. The sentence structure is often very short and abrupt, which, at the beginning, felt jolting and unsettling as I read. However, the style also makes the book feel very immediate and personal, drawing you right into Elvis' world and what's happening to him, and what he's thinking and doing. The story suddenly starts to race along, and you stop thinking about the style and really you just wonder what on earth is going to happen next!

There are odd things happening through the book, so that it sometimes feels a little surreal, but you find yourself accepting it all somehow. I cared about Elvis, and about what would happen to him. You really feel how deep this urge is, for him to discover the truth about his family. And you can also sense the mystery that he is right on the edge of uncovering. There are plenty of oddball characters around, such as Elvis' dad's friend, Lloyd, and also interesting people that Elvis and his dad meet along the way on their journey to discovering Elvis' family history.

The idea of trying to find your birth parents is, obviously, a very serious one, yet the topic is deftly handled throughout. I think that already knowing that this isn't a standard adoption story (because Elvis was just found on a bench, and then taken home by someone!) reduces some of the tension. So then, with gentleness and humour, ideas of family and belonging are uncovered throughout the story, and there were some really moving moments. I didn't guess what would happen, and I found myself racing to know right to the end.

Although this is a book for more confident readers, I really liked that the chapters are often very short, keeping the pace moving and also making it more accessible to more reluctant readers. The style of the short sentences also helps make it an easier read for slightly less confident readers. I liked that the book seems to defy typical descriptions, being a mystery and a drama and a family story and a comedy and a travelog, all rolled into one! Definitely recommended for those aged around 8 to 12.

Further reading suggestion: You might also enjoy Chloe Daykin's first novel: Fish Boy

Buy The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin at

Buy The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Boy Who Hit Play by Chloe Daykin at


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