It often takes something big to make you look at things differently. In this case it’s the death of their best mate which sends three teenage boys on a wild goose trek to Kirkcudbright (don’t worry, I may not spell it right, but I can say it properly). Ross may or may not have committed suicide, but his friends feel that his ashes would enjoy a trip to Ross in Scotland, so they steal the urn and set off.
The story is nowhere near as tasteless as you may think, but it’s very much a boys’ book. Girls might read it to find out how boys think, and adults can read it to find out how teenagers think, but I believe the real satisfaction will be for teenage boys. There are fewer books for them, so this ticks a lot of boxes.
Being a bit of a train nerd myself, I spent a lot of my time reading Ostrich Boys trying to pick holes in Keith’s train travel knowledge. I think the ticketing basis may be a little wobbly, but otherwise this is an interesting description of slightly inept travellers. The Blackpool interlude is a little weird, but when the boys get to Scotland and meet members of the opposite sex, things start to pick up.
By the time things fall apart the boys have learnt a thing or two about themselves and about Ross.
Ostrich Boys was shortlisted for the Costa award, but as not all shortlisted books can win, then this one didn’t. But stories about dead people’s ashes are definitely in.