I confess. I’ve had a run on the various Barrington Stoke books I’ve been sent.
They are easy to read. True. After all, that’s their purpose in life. But, on average, they are also better than many other books. Length isn’t everything, you know. So I don’t consider it cheating when I binge-read Barrington Stoke. It’s a case of reading one and then needing to continue because it was that good, and you want all the others as well. Immediately.
Recently, Anthony McGowan has provided us with two award quality stories about two brothers, in Brock and Pike. Here he is again, with a third marvellous ‘boy’ read.
The Fall is much bleaker than the other two. Just as excellent, but it leaves you wondering, thinking about life and how it turns out. What you did wrong, and if it could have been different if you’d only…
Set, I believe, exactly where the young Anthony was once a teenage boy in a bleak area. You can tell you are in expert hands. He knows the place, and he knows the boys. Was he one of them? I don’t know.
He knows about being a loser, and how being with someone slightly cooler can save you. He knows how the slightest thing could mark someone out as ‘the lowest of the low.’
That’s what The Fall is about. A group of boys in Y9 at the bad school in town. They stay out of the way of the bully as best they can. Luckily for them there is another, so hopeless that he will take all the attention and suffer in their place. So they ought to be nice to him, oughtn’t they?
Seriously good, but pretty unforgiving. It’s life.