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The Gifted, the Talented and Me

The Gifted, the Talented and Me

William Sutcliffe
Bloomsbury YA
ISBN: 9781408890219

Unique, modern with an uplifting message. A bit more of a boy read I think, but all students aged 13+ will enjoy this tale.

The story tells of Sam, a boy who is quite happy being 'normal', he's not special or gifted in any way and he's more than happy with that. That is, until his parents come into some money and he gets moved to a Gifted and Talented School, where everyone behaves like they are special and everyone is out to get the top spot.

Designing outfits from bath mats, cross-genre bands and Hollywood domination - from musicians, artists, theatricals and mathematicians, Sam does not find anywhere he belongs and he becomes very isolated, he even has his precious football taken from him as the College doesn't believe in football. Eventually, in a bid to win the heart of a girl who he fancies, Sam enters the College Production of The Tempest and he soon finds his own unique talent; learning plenty about himself along the way.

With some very witty and laugh out loud moments, this book will appeal to most teenagers, particularly boys. The language is aimed at teenagers with some colloquial language to represent the voice of Sam. Sam is instantly recognisable, especially if you have teenagers of your own or work with them! The characters are real and you find yourself very attached to Sam and his journey through awkward adolescence. From some really poignant moments in Sam's life to some very funny moments, this book will undoubtedly be a great page turner for teenagers.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, this was a lot different from many young fiction novels I have been reading recently. Sutcliffe has created a novel aimed at boys that deals with 'real' issues, that isn't fantasy, or war or football. There needs to be more authentic young fiction out there for our boys readers in particular, so well done to William Sutcliffe for leading the way.

323 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish, teacher


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