Reader Reviewed Rook by Anthony McGowan


Written by Anthony McGowan

11+ readers   13+ readers   Reluctant Readers   Summer Reading   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: sharply realised slice of real life

This finely written story speaks directly to readers in language that is frill free but shines with original, precise imagery. It opens with a scene in which a young rook is attacked by a larger bird. Nicky and his younger brother Kenny save it. As the bird hovers between life and death, Nicky’s own future is in the balance: an incident with the school bully sees him facing expulsion, at the same time he’s tentatively trying to start a relationship with a girl he fancies. For all his nerve Nicky is vulnerable, and things could easily go wrong for him, instead they start to look up. He isn’t expelled, Sarah likes him too, and Rooky is taken in by the animal sanctuary despite being, in Nicky’s dad’s words, ‘too common and too scruffy and too much trouble. Bit like us, eh?’ There’s a lot of story effortlessly packed into this short novel and readers will be very happy for Nicky.

Readers shouldn’t miss the two previous books in this trilogy, Brock and Pike. ~ Andrea Reece

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+

Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category.

Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to the review by one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel members were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Finn, age 13 - 'A good story for boys.  It's dyslexic friendly so everyone can read it.'
  • Rebekah Marsh, age 14 - 'Rook shows that everyone, no matter their background, condition, or social abilities, should be treated the same. The truly inspirational book shows that good always wins out in the end.'
  • Katie Miller, age 15 - 'Overall a good plot, however, I personally found it difficult to read and feel excited about it.'
  • Dylan Sweet - 'Bursting with suspense and irritatingly teasing cliff hangers, this is certainly one to read. I look forward to the next book.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'Inspiring and heartwarming and a must read for all younger readers and parents.'


Rook by Anthony McGowan

When Kenny and Nicky rescue a rook left for dead, Kenny is determined to keep it alive. Nicky doubts the scruffy bird will make it, but then Nicky has plenty else to worry about. This time, it’s not his dad or Kenny who need help – his dad’s sorting his life out and Kenny’s busy making plans with his new best mate. Now it’s Nicky’s turn to struggle – with a school bully, his first love, and the fact that everything is about to go very, very wrong.

Rook comes as a companion novella following brothers Nicky and Kenny who first appeared in Brock and Pike, both of which received an astonishing raft of great reviews and coverage including The Independent’s Ten Books for Summer 2015, The Times and The Literary Review, with Brock also longlisted for the 2014 Carnegie Medal.

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+


“Without a wasted phrase, McGowan packs in fear, empathy, humour, peer intimidation, consequences,
responsibilities, and wraps it all up with a big beating heart.” Leilah Skelton Waterstones Bookseller

“Funny, sad, tender, true. Bloody bloody brilliant.” Phil Earle

About the Author

Anthony McGowan

Anthony McGowan has written several young adult novels including Hellbent, Henry Tumour, The Knife That Killed Me, the last of which was adapted into a highly acclaimed flm in 2014. Anthony has also written widely for younger children, including the award-winning Donut Diaries series, and Einstein’s Underpants, which was short-listed for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. His upcoming novel, The Art of Failing, is due to come out later this year. He lives in London.

Q & A video: Anthony answers questions about his book, Willard Price: Leopard Adventure.

Photo credit Jerry Bauer

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Book Info


104 pages


Anthony McGowan
More books by Anthony McGowan

Author's Website


Barrington Stoke Ltd

Publication date

15th June 2017




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