Quiet Boy : Tom Kavanagh

Good Afternoon wonderful readers! I speak about the fact that I review all genres of book quite regularly here on mylittlebookblog, and so far, in a year and a half blogging I am yet to turn someone away in their request for a review. Before I started blogging I stuck to reading only genres that I enjoyed as we all do, but I wanted to read more diverse genres and mylittlebookblog has opened a door in that sense. I also love that I get to review children’s books because my childhood was filled with reading and any books that can give a child the love of reading that I gained from the adventures I read about need to be shared. I actually approached the author Tom Kavanagh on Twitter, which is something I’m using more and more as a communication tool with authors and offered a review. So thank you to Tom for taking up my offer because I rather enjoyed this lovely little book.

I actually think that children’s books are really difficult to write because there needs to be a balance between interesting language, a story, and something that’s going to keep the reader entertained. Books can be a little over-whelming and as a child I remember books that just didn’t hook me or didn’t teach me anything. This cannot be said for this book. The story follows Quiet Boy (nick-named QB) who is a little different. A shy and sensitive character, his worried parents send him away to a camp for children that need a little help finding their feet in the world. Filled with anxiety and worry QB meets up with his Grandfather and the two decide that whilst he is away QB will recount his adventure in letters to his dear Grandfather. Once at the camp QB meets two very special characters, Rose and Tim and the three of them create their own three musketeer like friendship. The story follows the trials and tribulations of the three characters and the difficulties they face in interacting with different people and taking part in different team-building tasks. The story, told in letters to his Grandfather follows this lovely character as he finds his feet, and his voice in a very special coming of age story.

One of the things I liked most about the book were the character profiles; QB is sensitive and nervous, but from the start you feel for him because he has such a strong moral core. The writing style really plays on the concern and unease that QB is feeling in this new situation and the author handles it with great care. Rose or fidget girl as she is nicknamed, is a self-assured but is also a character that frets. Her assured personality mixed with her need to fidget created a very well-balanced character which also helps to bring out QB’s character. Tim (aerial boy because he likes planes) is the least developed out of the three in terms of character building, but his sense of humour added another contrast helping to create distinction between the two males characters because they are quite similar.

The story also pushes a very ethical message throughout the book that wasn’t overplayed or made too obvious but just kept weaving through. It is also looked at what can happen when you stray from doing the right thing but in such a way that didn’t affect the characters too negatively. Also by adding in an nasty character, found in the form of the bully Rory it lead to some interesting choices for the characters that helped to keep the moral theme continuing throughout. I also loved the idea that they were each their own superhero struggling to find their way and think that this book could really help any readers that are struggling a little with finding their path in life. The ending is always very lovely and warming (although a little upsetting) and rounds of the book really nicely which is always a good thing.

I did have a few comments on the book, firstly it did become a little repetitive and I think it’s because of the form of the letters, that do really work but at times I did feel that it needed something more. It wasn’t that I tired of the book I just thought that it might not hold the reader’s attention as much as it could. I also think some of the events could have been played up more to create more suspense such QB’s difficulty with the group tasks and Rose’s difficulties when playing her part as Blousey in the performance. I think a little more colour in the events would have helped to create more drama and suspense and would have countered the repetitive nature of the letters. Linking to this I think because of the use of the letters, the book lacked description to draw the reader in and I think a little more would have helped to enhance the events happening in the book but I understand that this isn’t always possible.

As a whole this is a lovely coming of age story that has a real message throughout and could really help readers that are potentially struggling through growing up. I think it did get a little repetitive however the strong character profiles and the use of contrasting events helps to counter this and make the story more exciting. A really lovely story and one I would definitely recommend!

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