Written in a powerful first person voice, this is a story that grips the reader from the first line. It’s also dyslexia friendly.
When Mikey’s dad dies, he stops caring about anything. Indeed, he becomes so desperate to feel something that he deliberately provokes the one person on the estate who no one messes with. Not surprisingly it ends badly and not just for him. Mikey’s best mate also ends up in a pool of blood. But that doesn’t matter because his friend has already lost something more important. He lost Mikey when his dad died and he’s determined to find a way to bring his best friend back. That’s why he sets off on a one boy crusade to find a way to help Mikey remember his dad. He just needs to find a movie, a radio extract, or a YouTube clip – something that will allow his friend to remember his dad’s voice. Mikey’s dad was an actor, so how difficult can it be?
Written in a powerful first person voice, this is a story that grips the reader from the first line. It was only when I came to write this review that I realised that our narrator (Mikey’s best mate) doesn’t appear to have a name – or if it is mentioned, I missed it. (Perhaps because I was so rapidly turning the pages, eager to find out what was going to happen next.)
It’s impressive how the reader is able to learn so much about the two boys from the way our narrator speaks, what he worries about, and how he reacts to things. I particularly loved the way our narrator describes his confusion when Mikey provokes the fight: ‘Mikey had the intellect of a Porshe and the fighting skills of a Nissan Micra, and he knew it.’ I also enjoyed the scene when we visit Mikey’s mum and the encounter on the South Bank with the street entertainer. It says everything we need to know about our lead characters’ lives that our narrator notices the pickpocket while everyone around him is absorbed in the show. This is, of course, a detail that is going to become important to the plot within just a few pages.
This is a relatively short story but there is a strong plot that keeps the reader guessing. There’s also a very clever resolution that I simply didn’t anticipate. (It was fascinating to read the notes at the back of the book where author, Phil Earle, explains where the idea came from).
‘Mind the Gap’ is part of Barrington Stoke’s ‘Super-readable YA’ series with black text on a pale yellow page and a unique dyslexia friendly type face. This is designed to help more people love reading but may put confident readers off. However, this is most definitely a story for all teens and along with The Liar’s Handbook by Keren David has definitely inspired to me to read more of this wonderful series.
If you enjoyed this, why not try another 2017 release in Barrington Stoke’s ‘Super-readable YA’ series. I loved The Liar’s Handbook by Keren David. Alternatively, why not try one of Phil Earle’s longer YA books such as The Bubble-Wrap Boy or Saving Daisy.
Editor’s note: Mind the Gap has an interest age of teen and a reading age of eight.
Date: January 2017
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Author’s Website: Phil Earle
Review first published on The Bookbag