Unboxed by Non Pratt

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Unboxed by Non Pratt

Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A diverse group of eighteen-year olds who were close frinds five years ago meet to open a memory box. A brilliant look at teen friendship and grief.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 142 Date: August 2016
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781125854

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When they were thirteen there had been five of them: Alix, Ben, Dean, Millie and Zara, and they had made a promise to return to the school where they had hidden a memory box five years later. Only five years later there are only four of them: Millie had died of stomach cancer. The remaining four are nervous about what they might find in the box, worried about what their thirteen-year-old selves might reveal about who they are now, but most of all they're missing Millie.

The stand-out character for me is Alix who has no problems with being gay, but is still nervous about revealing the fact to the other three. Well, actually, it's not three: it's four because Zara has brought her boyfriend, Ash, along with her - he has a car and they're going on somewhere later - and this elicits Dean's gloriously inappropriate comment as he looks at Ash: Millie's changed. That probably tells you most of what you need to know about Dean. At first you wonder how such diverse people could ever have melded into a group of friends, but as you see them interact there's a glimpse of the people they were and how the whole was more than the sum of the parts.

Non Patt is brilliant at bringing teenagers off the page: there are no fancy devices or contrived scenes - they just are and it takes a lot of skill to do that. Pratt has a distinctive voice and it's one that teens recognise. It was obvious in Trouble and Remix and it's great to see it again in her debut book for Barrington Stoke. Why is the publisher important? Well, Barrington Stoke produces books which are dyslexia friendly and they'll also help reluctant readers.

So, what makes the book dyslexia friendly? Well, firstly Barrington Stoke have designed a special font where each character is distinct and pulls the reader on to read the next word. It's printed on an off-white paper, which reduces the glare which can distract some readers and the paper is substantial enough to ensure that there's no bleed through from the reverse of the page. The spacing between words and lines has been carefully judged to give the best reading experience and the text has not been justified as this can mean that readers get lost on the page. It's not only people with dyslexia who benefit from these ingenious changes - most young readers will find the books easier to read and more enjoyable. I'm just about into my dotage and recently I've been suffering from eye problems - and Barrington Stoke books are the ones which I can read most easily.

The books also acknowledge that people with dyslexia - or reluctant readers - will have the same interest level as their peer group, but they might not have the same reading age. Unboxed is suitable for young adults but the reading age is eight. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you like the look of this book we think that you might also enjoy Persist by Melvin Burgess.

Buy Unboxed by Non Pratt at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Unboxed by Non Pratt at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Unboxed by Non Pratt at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Unboxed by Non Pratt at Amazon.com.


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