Reader Reviewed The Way Back Home by Allan Stratton

The Way Back Home

Written by Allan Stratton

13+ readers   YA readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

May 2017 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Taking a stand for the people you love

A touching tale of a teen girl’s endearing love for her grandmother, and the awe-inspiring, life-enhancing trip they take together.

Zoe Bird is a wonderful whirlwind of a character. Her voice fizzes with energy - and anger. Alongside having to deal with a whole lot of nastiness at the hands of her bullying cousin Madi (AKA Saint Suckhole), she’s trying to cope with the fact that her beloved grandmother has Alzheimer’s. Granny is Zoe's closest friend, an ally who knows that Zoe has “the biggest heart in the world”. But Granny forgets things, and it’s getting worse. She sometimes goes to the store in her dressing gown, she’s failing to take care of herself, and she keeps mentioning her son Teddy, an uncle Zoe has never met. So Zoe’s parents decide that it’s time for her to move into an old people’s home, but not for long… A family revelation leads Zoe to break Granny out of the home and they take a trip that leads to unexpected discoveries, and unforeseen joy.

Zoe’s relationship with Granny is nothing short of beautiful. I cried, I laughed, then cried some more at her bravery and absolute, unflinching emotional and physical support of her grandmother. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, and always life-affirming, this will be adored by readers who enjoyed Jacqueline Wilson at a younger age. ~ Joanne Owen

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.

  • Olivia Arnold, age 12 - 'This book is one to remember! Exploring many different and deep concepts and emotions, The Way Back Home shows the importance of family, friendship and trust.'
  • Rebekah Marsh, age 14 - 'The Way Back Home enticed me more and more with each page, as I read on, I found myself unable to stop. The tale of Zoe Bird and her Alzheimer's ridden Granny was truly amazing.'
  • Olivia Dally-Fitzsimons, age 13 - 'This book is one of my favorite books and one of the best books I have read in a long time.'
  • Ella, age 13 - Rodborough School - 'The Way Back Home was an interesting and different book to what I have read before. Inside the pages lies a vivid story, about a girl trying to protect herself and her granny. From what, she does not really know.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'Zoe is an inspiring girl with a big heart and an even bigger set of values that are commendable. Loved her! Go read this immediately!'
  • Neha Saji - 'The Way Back Home is a funny book that I would recommend to teenagers of the early years.'


The Way Back Home by Allan Stratton

Zoe Bird is going nowhere fast. She's angry and lonely, and her only true friend is her granny, whose Alzheimer's is worsening. When her parents put Granny in a home, Zoe decides now is the time to break free. She smuggles Granny out and together they hit the tracks on a cross-country trip to find Zoe's long-lost uncle. But there will be some home truths along the way...

An emotional story about family, surviving school and being true to yourself for fans of The Art of Being Normal and Unbecoming.


I love this book - a riveting page-turner full of likeable, flawed, believable people. It's beautiful, heartbreaking, yet wonderfully funny. Stratton writes some of the wittiest dialogue in YA fiction today. -- Susin Nielsen

The Way Back Home is raw, funny, brutal and profoundly humane. It broke my heart and then healed it again -- Susan Juby

Terrific. I read it in one big gulp. Does Stratton have an ear for dialogue or what? His splendid new novel involves a journey from a painful past into something like, well, utter grace. Like all of Stratton's work, this is a read that makes us recognise the pilgrimages we are all on, and cheer at the thought that they might, they really might, be successful. Gary D Schmidt

Praise for The Dogs:

'An accomplished, gripping and thoughtful story, whose dramatic ending delivers on every level' Guardian

'Darkly suspenseful thriller blurring the lines between reality and imagination, keeping you guessing and keeping you awake long into the night' The Scotsman

About the Author

Allan Stratton

Allan Stratton is the internationally acclaimed author of Chanda's Secrets (winner of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book). Other titles for young adults include Chanda's Wars, Borderline and Leslie's Journal. Allan has safaried in Africa, hiked the Great Wall of China, explored pyramids in Egypt and flown over Cappadocia in a balloon. He lives with his partner in Toronto with four cats and lots of fish.

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Book Info


256 pages


Allan Stratton
More books by Allan Stratton

Author's Website


Andersen Press Ltd

Publication date

4th May 2017




Publisher Profile

Andersen Press Ltd is an imprint of Andersen Press

logo Andersen Press is one of the leading independent children’s publishers, publishing some of the biggest names in the world of children's books including the much-loved picture book characters the Little Princess and Elmer the patchwork elephant. Andersen Press is the home of many award-winning authors and illustrators including Melvin Burgess, Rebecca Stead, Satoshi Kitamura, Tony Ross, David McKee, Chris Judge and Jeanne Willis. Founded in 1976 by Klaus Flugge it won the Bologna Best Children’s Publisher prize in the European Category in 2016, the company’s 40th anniversary year.

Publisher's Website

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