Friday, 25 November 2016

Born Scared, Kevin Brooks

Pages: 242
Publisher: Egmont
Release Date: 8th September 2016
Edition: UK signed paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Martyn Pig, Lucas, Kissing the Rain, Bloodline, Candy, The Road of the Dead, Being, Black Rabbit Summer, Killing God, iBoy, Naked, The Bunker Diary

Elliot is terrified of everything.

From the moment he was born, his life has been governed by acute fear. The only thing that keeps his terror in check are the pills that he takes every day.

It’s Christmas Eve, there’s a snowstorm and Elliot’s medication is almost done. His mum nips out to pick up his prescription. She’ll only be 10 minutes – but when she doesn’t come back, Elliot must face his fears and try to find her. She should only be 400 metres away. It might as well be 400 miles…

This is Kevin Brooks’ first novel since he stormed the YA world with The Bunker Diary back in 2013 and swooped a load of awards. He had to come back with a bang and he definitely did.

Within only a few pages, Born Scared had headed in an unexpected direction. The book follows two interweaving narratives: Elliot on the epic journey to find his mum and a pair of criminals causing trouble. As soon as they were introduced I guessed how the two stories would intersect, but I couldn’t have guessed the epic journeys that all of the characters would go on in such a short novel, and in such a short amount of time. Set over only a few hours, Born Scared moves at a hell of a pace and I read it in only 3 sittings despite being hit by the worst reading slump in years.

Elliot’s life has been dominated by intense, crippling fear of pretty much everything for as long as he can remember. It was fascinating and scary to read about the way Elliot processes things I do every day without any real thought. It was suffocating and vivid and Kevin Brooks’ skill really came through. Born Scared can be added to those lists of YA books about mental illness that everyone needs to read – important, thrilling and a damn good read.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kevin Brooks’ latest offering and he continues to be an author that I expect a lot from and am never disappointed by.

Thanks to Egmont for the review copy.


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