Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Smart - Kim Slater

Title: Smart - Kim Slater
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Series: N/A
Service: Netgalley (in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: 05/06/2014
Pages: 240
Format: Kindle ebook


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I found Jean's friend dead in the river. His name was Colin Kirk. He was a homeless man, but he still wanted to live. 

There's been a murder, but the police don't care. It was only a homeless old man after all.

Kieran cares. He's made a promise, and when you say something out loud, that means you're going to do it, for real. He's going to find out what really happened. To Colin. And to his grandma, who just stopped coming round one day. It's a good job Kieran's a master of observation, and knows all the detective tricks of the trade.

But being a detective is difficult when you're Kieran Woods. When you're amazing at drawing but terrible at fitting in. And when there are dangerous secrets everywhere, not just outside, but under your own roof.

Give us a few words…
Why do you say that?

'Smart' is such a beautiful debut by Kim Slater. Following the story of Kieran Woods who discovers a dead body in the river and decides that the man, Colin, was murdered and the case needs to be solved.

Kieran is autistic and his difficulty in social situations is highlighted throughout the book. In school he has a teaching assistant with him through lessons and he often gets bullied with children calling him names and asking what is wrong with him. In spite of all of this Kieran manages to deal with it in clever ways. I particularly liked one instance where Kieran uses his talent for art to get him out of what could have been a sticky situation. Kieran's love and talent for art is expressed throughout the book and it is this, teamed with his love for the show CSI, that help him to start uncovering clues about the circumstances revolving around Colin's death, as well as many other things going on in his life.

Aside from Kieran the character of Jean was fantastic. Not just a homeless woman but a woman with a past who adds to the plot nicely without being a useless secondary character.

The narration of the book is simple as it is through Kieran's point of view however you see how bright he is and his way of thinking. I enjoyed the plot as it was not outright predictable and moved at a decent pace. My only issue would be that at times there can be quite a bit going on between solving Colin's case, things at the hostel, home life and school issues.

Although this book was about mystery I was more interested in Kieran's progression and was not disappointed with either aspect. 'Smart' is a heartwarming story about an endearing boy and how intelligence cannot always be measured in grades.

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