Fifteen Days without a Head by Dave Cousins

Fifteen Days without a Head

Written by Dave Cousins

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

In a tough, charged story, fifteen year old Laurence recounts the fifteen days he keeps himself and his little brother going when their mum abandons them. It’s a challenging story of survival against the odds; Laurence has to keep one step ahead of social services if he is to stop his brother going into care. But he has a dream of winning a fabulous holiday that will be the lure to bring his mother home. Laurence tells the story of his predicament without rancour despite the grimness of his situation and with great tenderness for his brother making this a gripping story that makes the reader, like Laurence, hope that all will work out alright in the end.

Author Dave Cousins was a winner of the 2010 Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators search for Undiscovered Voices. Click here to visit his website.

Click here for a Fifteen Days reading guide.


Fifteen Days without a Head by Dave Cousins

Fifteen-year-old Laurence Roach just wants a normal life, but it's not easy when your mum is a depressed alcoholic and your six-year-old brother thinks he's a dog. When Mum fails to come home one night, Laurence tells nobody, terrified he and his brother will be taken into care if anyone finds out. Instead, he attempts to keep up the pretence that Mum is still around: dressing up in her clothes to trick the neighbours and spinning an increasingly complicated tangle of lies. After two weeks on their own, running out of food and money, with suspicious adults closing in, Laurence finally discovers what happened to his mother. And that's when the trouble really starts...

A compelling thriller filled with some hilarious and surreal moments. Fifteen Days Without a Head is a tender, honest story about family, forgiveness and hope.


'An excellent debut. It's a tough and turbulent tale of growing up the hard way, but there's heart and soul on every page. I can't wait to see what Cousins does next.' Keith Gray, the award-winning author of Ostrich Boys

'Unputdownable - heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, with the most loveable and memorable characters. A jewel of a book!' Candy Gourlay, author of Tall Story

'Dave Cousins' fantastic writing laces a tough tale with humour, warmth and a cast of beautifully depicted characters.' Paula Rawsthorne, author of The Truth about Celia Frost

'This heartfelt, well-told debut is a delight, bringing lightness to a tale of dark circumstances.' - Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times (Children's Book of the Week)

About the Author

Dave Cousins

Dave Cousins grew up in Birmingham, in a house full of books and records. Abandoning childhood plans to be an astronaut, Dave went to art college in Bradford, joined a band and moved to London. He spent the next ten years touring and recording, and was nearly famous.

Dave’s writing career began aged ten, with an attempt to create a script for Fawlty Towers. He has been writing songs, poems and stories ever since. His short story The Floodlight Man was broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live, read by Dave himself.

He now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and family, in a house full of books and records, and writes in a corner of the attic with an anarchic ginger cat for company.

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Book Info


288 pages


Dave Cousins
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Oxford University Press

Publication date

5th January 2012




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