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One of our Books of the Year 2016 | April 2016 Book of the Month Finlay is articulate, an excellent Scrabble player, which makes it so frustrating that the seven letter word that defines him is stammer. He’s always found it hard to speak, but since his mum suddenly walked out on him and his dad two years ago it’s much worse, making him the target of cruel bullying. The chance to enter a Scrabble tournament changes things: he makes a new friend in Maryam, recently arrived from Pakistan, and a real Scrabble expert. The tournament also offers Finlay new hope of finding his mum. From being about a boy struggling to express himself this grows into a tense story of truths being spelled out. The mystery element is cleverly played out and it’s satisfying too to see Finlay take on those ready to bully their way to power.
'My name is Finlay McIntosh. I can see OK, can hear perfectly fine and I can write really, really well. But the thing is, I can't speak. I'm a st-st-st-stutterer. Hilarious, isn't it? It's like the word is there in my mouth, fully formed and then, just as it's ready to leave my lips ...POP! It jumps and ricochets and bounces around my gob. Except it isn't funny at all, because there's not a thing I can do about it.'
Finlay's mother vanished two years ago. And ever since then his stutter has become almost unbearable. Bullied at school and ignored by his father, the only way to get out the words which are bouncing around in his head is by writing long letters to his ma which he knows she will never read, and by playing Scrabble online. But when Finlay is befriended by an online Scrabble player called Alex, everything changes. Could it be his mother secretly trying to contact him? Or is there something more sinister going on?
A Seven-Letter Word is an evocative and heartfelt story from the multi-award-winning author of Smart, Kim Slater.
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 Kim Slater's debut novel Smart. Click here to read the full reviews.
Praise for Smart
‘A remarkable first novel’ Guardian
‘Debut novels don’t come much smarter than Smart’ Lancashire Evening Post
‘An amazing, enthralling and enticing debut’ Armadillo magazine
‘A lovely book with an even lovelier character in Kieran . . . Kim Slater is an author to watch’ Wondrous Reads
‘A heart-warming tale that could have readers laughing and crying in equal measure’ bookzone4boys
‘Fans of thoughtful contemporaries will be really impressed by this debut’ The Bookbag
|Publication date:||24th March 2016|
|Publisher:||Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 13+ readers|
|Recommendations:||Books of the Month|
|Other Categories:||Reviewed by Children|
Kim Slater honed her storytelling skills as a child, writing macabre tales specially designed to scare her younger brother! Taking her literary inspiration from everyday life, Kim's debut novel, Smart, has won ten regional prizes and been shortlisted for over twenty regional and national awards, including the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the Federation of Children's Book Groups Prize. Smart was also longlisted for the 2015 Carnegie Medal. Kim lives in Nottingham with her husband and has one grown-up daughter.More About Kim Slater