Sunday 16 February 2020

Sofa Surfer By Malcolm Duffy | Book Review

Today I'm going to reviewing a heart warming YA contemporary, that has such an important message which everyone, of all ages needs to hear! If that sounds like something you would like, keep on reading. I'm reviewing Sofa Surfer by Malcolm Duffy*, as part of the blog tour, which was kindly sent to me by Head of Zeus for review. If you love a good YA contemporary book, you are going to want to check this one out!

What is Sofa Surfer about:

Sofa Surfer is about a boy called Tyler who is just about to embark upon what is set out to be a pretty long dull summer. However, unexpectedly two girls enter his life. A girl called Spider, who is very tall yet can't swim and a girl called Michele, who is very good looking. Spider leads Tyler into a very dangerous world which he knew nothing about before he met her. Tyler learns what happens when going home isn't an option.

What I liked about Sofa Surfer:

I loved Sofa Surfer so much. It was such a thoughtful, well developed and interesting discussion around homelessness. I loved how this book didn't fall into the trap of being very stereotypical. I think it would have been easy to write about a  homeless middle aged man, which portrays a very stereotypical view of what homelessness is. Instead, this book chooses to focus on a 16 year old homeless girl. A large number of teenagers are homeless, yet are under-reported in the media, not given chance to tell their story. This book bridges that gap.

This books has such an important message. I think it would be very powerful for a 15 year old to read this book and realise that anyone could be homeless, including one of their friends or classmates. This book did a great job of discussing homelessness as a concept, e.g. homelessness includes sofa surfing but in a way that is accessible for younger readers.

I loved the characters so much in this book, especially Tyler. I loved how he cared so much about Spider and how he was willing to do anything to help her. I particularly liked it when he stood up to his parents and challenged their negative views on homelessness. That was really powerful and refreshing to read. I also liked how panic attacks were mentioned. It is always great to read YA books with mental illness rep, helping reduce stigma and challenge misconceptions. 

The writing was so easy to read, I flew through this book in just a couple of sittings, although it did take me a while to get used to the Geordie dialogue. 

What didn't I like about Sofa Surfer:

Honestly, it was really hard to find anything wrong with this book. I think Malcolm did a fantastic job. The only minor compliant I had, was I would have liked to have seen some more discussion around panic attacks. It was so good to see them mentioned but maybe there could have been covered in a little bit more depth.

Who do I recommend this book to:

I would genuinely recommend this book to anyone. As a 21 year old, I enjoyed and really appreciated this story. As I was reading, it did remind me a lot of the Jacqueline Wilson books I read when I was a teenager. Malcolm Duffy is like the modern, male version of Jacqueline Wilson. This is such an important book for teenagers to read, it has such a powerful take home message, but this book has been done in a way that is still fun and accessible for younger readers.

Overall thoughts:

I ended up giving this book four stars. I think it was a really clever, refreshing read about a prevalent topic in our society, that teenagers need to be aware of. This book did a great job in tackling misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding homelessness. Could not recommend this book enough.

Centrepoint (UK's leading youth homelessness charity) helpline: 0808 800 0661

Sofa Surfer comes out in hardback and e-book on 6th Feb 2020

Buy a copy HERE

Thanks for reading, as always X

*This book was sent to me for free, however, all opinions are my own and I'm not being paid to write this review.  
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