Tuesday 8 January 2019

Review by Charis Buckingham of "928 Miles From Home" by Kim Slater

Kim Slater, author of the award-winning Smart, never fails to tackle difficult issues in her novels. Her third Young Adult novel, 928 Miles from Home, is another deeply resonant story that doesn’t shy away from subjects such as immigration, poverty, and bullying. 

Fourteen-year-old Calum Brooks dreams of being a screenplay writer but believes his background will impede his success. Trapped in the cycle of poverty and neglect, he absorbs and repeats the ignorant opinions of his bully friends and abuses those different from him. However, when his dad’s Polish girlfriend and son move in, Calum is forced to re-evaluate his mindset. He realises everyone has something to offer, and diversity is beneficial.

Told through Calum’s eyes, the story can at times seem frustrating, as the reader watches him struggle to overcome his prejudices. His angst, anger and, at times, helplessness is authentic, genuine, and hard-hitting. The grim reality of life on the estate is never disguised; this contributes to the gritty realism of the novel, but could prove too heavy for some younger readers. Slater’s approach is blunt and direct, and her messages of acceptance and tolerance come through loud and clear.

For anyone wanting a reflective and moving novel that delves unflinchingly into societal issues, it’s a must-read. 

About the reviewer
Charis Buckingham predominately writes Young Adult and historical fiction, and loves to sing and read. She lives in Leicester, having recently graduated from the University of Leicester with an MA in Creative Writing.

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