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Small Town Hero

Written by Patrick Neate

Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 13+ readers Gritty Reads Science Fiction Sports Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE) Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

LoveReading View on Small Town Hero

Grief, alternate realities, family and football - this has all the intrigue of an elusive-to-crack code

Patrick Neate’s Small Town Hero melds a sensitive handling of real-life loss with alternate world weirdness to create a surprising, unique novel. There’s grief and gaming, family secrets and football, and the interwoven themes of loss and science will appeal to readers who liked Christopher Edge’s The Many Worlds of Albie Bright and are now a little older.


Everything changed for thirteen-year-old Gabe when his dad died in a car accident. First there’s his grief, which has created a “black hole inside me.” Then there’s his unsettling new ability: “the stories I imagine become real.” Reeling with grief and confusion, Gabe finds he’s not entirely alone when he spends more time with his estranged Uncle Jesse, writer of an online game called Small Town Hero, which - to make matters even weirder – appears to echo Gabe’s life. Jesse believes “there aren’t just a few realities, but a countless number” and explains that when Gabe shifts realities and sees alternate versions of his present and future life, he’s crossing something called an “event horizon”. 


As Gabe’s reality-shifting plays out, he also falls out with his best friend. Still, he has Soccer School to look forward to, and here Gabe takes on pertinent football wisdom from one his Watford icons: “Football’s a game of moments. You get the ball, you choose a pass and, whether you chose right or wrong and did it well or badly, the moment’s gone and you gotta move on…the game makes you live in the here and now – you can’t change what’s gone and you can’t see what’s coming.” 

For similar books you can find an exciting and varied selection in our new Gritty Reads section

Joanne Owen

Small Town Hero Synopsis

Ever since his dad died in a shock accident, thirteen-year-old Gabe's world has been turned upside-down and back to front. Literally: Gabe has discovered the ability to tell stories which take him into the past, or imagine an impossible version of the present or future that seems as real as real.

Gabe has no clue what is going on. But the answers may lie with his mysterious uncle Jesse, an online game called Small Town Hero which seems to mirror Gabe's own life, a long-lost grandmother, and the very fabric of time and the universe.

Small Town Hero Press Reviews

An irresistible lead character and a plot that will melt your brain out of your ears (in the best way)  -- Patrick Ness

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781783449675
Publication date: 06/08/2020
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781783449675
Publication date: 6th August 2020
Author: Patrick Neate
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 272 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 13+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads, Science Fiction, Sports, Personal Social Health Economic , Personal Social Health Economic
Recommendations: Reluctant Readers
Collections: 60 books to explain death to children and help them grieve,

About Patrick Neate

Patrick Neate is the author of seven novels, including Twelve Bar Blues, which won the Whitbread (now Costa) Novel Award, and two books of non-fiction, including Where You're At, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. His film scripts include an adaptation of his own novel City of Tiny Lights, starring Riz Ahmed and Billie Piper, and pianist James Rhodes's best-selling memoir Instrumental. He is also the founder of Book Slam, London's first and greatest literary shindig.

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