Reader Reviewed Smart by Kim Slater


Written by Kim Slater

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shortlisted for Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Older Readers category - Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 - June 2014 Debut of the Month Kieran watches the world carefully. He’s good at noticing things that others don’t which makes him an excellent detective. Born with learning difficulties and living with a violent stepfather, Kieran has a lot to contend with but his inner resilience gives him great strength as he sets out to solve some of the many mysterious that are intertwined around his life.

An evocative and compelling debut for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

STOP PRESS: Kim Slater's second novel, A Seven Letter Word is published end March 2016.

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. Click here to read the full reviews.

  • Daniel Pender, age 10 - 'This book was slow to get going but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it.'
  • Chloe, age 10 - 'I loved this book and all the suspense and mystery it had. It made me feel like I was watching it happen. It is about a boy called Kieran who is trying to solve a murder mystery.'
  • Elizabeth Tomlin, age 8 - 'I really enjoyed this story - in fact I read it over two nights.'
  • Sam Harper, age 10 - 'A very different mystery with a very different detective trying to solve it. Kieran believes that Colin was murdered but he needs to prove it and that's not easy when everyone thinks you're stupid.'
  • Adiella Norridge, age 10 - 'This book is amazing and definitely a favourite on my bookshelf!'
  • Amie Coffman, age 10 - 'I loved this book and so will you if you like a good mystery.  The clues are all there in front of your eyes - how will the mystery be solved? An exciting and thrilling read!'
  • Alice East, age 9 - 'Smart is a great book about a clever boy called Keiran, who is fabulous at drawing and detective work. A homeless person is dead the police don't care but at least Keiran cares.'
  • Annie Graham, age 11 - 'I absolutely loved this book! I hope that Kim Starter writes more books as I loved her writing style.'
  • Jemma Rubens, age 10 - 'A fantastic novel full of suspense!'
  • Lola Frary, age 10 - 'A murder mystery where no one cares about whodunnit...I would definitely recommend this book to my friends.'
  • Ben Brown, age 10 - 'Highly reccomended for 9-11 year olds who like great characters and an exciting plot.'
  • Ellen Faulkner, age 12 - 'Smart was the sort of book which pulls you in and grips you and when it lets go you think: wow. I loved it and it made me see the world in a different way.
  • Beth Honeyman, age 11 - 'A fantastic mystery novel for the tween to teen reader. It has some dark themes which stay with you. The artwork on the cover is amazing! Loved this book.'
  • Jasmine Harris-Hart, age 12 - 'An exciting murder mystery story about an artistic , clever and observant young lad in Nottingham.'
  • Isabel Kardos-Stowe, age 10 - 'Smart is a mystery but much,much more than that. It tells you about Kieran's home life as well. Dealing with real situations makes it even more moving and exciting. Amazing.'
  • James Harrison, age 10 - 'Smart was a pretty decent read because it was written well and the idea was good.'


Smart by Kim Slater

'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.

A truly astonishing debut novel affecting, uplifting and beautifully written, Kim Slate has created an unforgettable hero in Kieran Woods, whose internal deliberation and astute observations will make any reader desperate to see him succeed in his mission for justice. Smart tackles difficult subjects with sensitivity, warmth and humour, demonstrating that hope can be found in the most unlikely of places – and with the most unlikely of heroes.


It's painful to see how Kieran is treated, but heart-warming when people realise what he is capable of and how he doesn't hold the prejudices against other people as most of us might do. Smart leaves you with the hope that this realisation will extend beyond Kieran and will soon become a part of everyday life

Sometimes you don't know what you want to read until it's in your hands. Smart should be in your hands. Lorna Duncanson, Seven Stories Centre for Children’s Books

Kieran is brave, charming, smart and a delight to get to know. Such a stand out must read. Carly, Book Blogger, Fiction Fascination

About the Author

Kim Slater

Kim Slater honed her storytelling skills as a child, writing macabre tales specially designed to scare her younger brother! A self-employed education-budget manager across several Nottinghamshire inner-city schools, she gained a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University at the age of forty and went on to pursue a MA in Creative Writing. Taking her literary inspiration from everyday life, Kim's debut novel, Smart, brings a brilliant new voice to the world of children's books. Kim lives in Nottingham with her partner and has one grown-up daughter.

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Book Info


240 pages
Interest Age: From 11


Kim Slater
More books by Kim Slater

Author's Website


Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Publication date

5th June 2014




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