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Sofa Surfer

Written by Malcolm Duffy

Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults

LoveReading View on Sofa Surfer

Important and empathetic portrayal of teenage homelessness

Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021

Malcolm Duffy’s acclaimed, award winning debut, Me Mam. Me Dad. Me, showed us a writer with a totally authentic voice and the ability to portray the direst of circumstances with honesty, humour and heart. Here, young adult readers will be confronted with the terrifying reality of how easily young people can slip under the radar and lose the safety net of a home to go to. Our hero Tyler is a recognisably grumpy 15-year-old uprooted against his will and relocated in Yorkshire. Still to make any friends and with only his dog for company, he stumbles upon a lanky, fellow outsider called Spyder, at the local pool. She wants him to teach her to swim. Given a purpose at last he has no idea what a tangled web of lies he will end up creating as he gradually realises her homeless predicament and wants to help. Unflinching in its examination of a society which would very much prefer not to ‘see’ the problem- just like Tyler’s parents when they discover what he has been concealing. Tyler makes genuine moral mistakes, but we must admire his tenacity and determination to help at whatever cost to himself. Spyder is utterly convincing too- not wanting pity and justifiably scared of dubious ‘charity ’help, she deserves everyone’s respect. This is a book which sadly is all too pertinent to the lives of young people today and in the foreseeable political future. A crusading novel that more than lives up to the promise of that powerful debut. Highly recommended.

Joy Court

Other Info

There are 380,000 homeless in the UK. A vast majority are the hidden homeless. The hidden homeless population has soared by two thirds since 2010.

As many as one in five 16-25 year olds sleep on sofas or floors because they have no form of accommodation. The majority of sofa surfers are in unsafe places, at risk of harm or exploitation.

Find out more about the UKLA Awards 2021.

Sofa Surfer Synopsis

'A story with great heart, and wisdom, which shows the healing power of true friendship' Ele Fountain, author of Boy 87. Written with humour and heart, Sofa Surfer looks at what it means to be homeless. Malcolm Duffy's debut novel Me Mam. Me Dad. Me., about domestic violence, won the YA category of the Sheffield Children's Book Award 2019, the Redbridge Children's Book Award 2019, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Prize 2019 and selected for World Book Night. 15-year-old Tyler's teenage angst turns to outright rebellion when his family leave London for a new life in Yorkshire. He's angry with his parents about the upheaval and furious at losing his home. With only the dog to confide in, Tyler has no idea that a chance meeting with a skinny girl called Spider will lead him into a world he never even knew existed. Spider is sofa surfing and Tyler finds himself spinning a tangled web of lies in his efforts to help her escape her world of fear and insecurity. Sofa Surfer shows how empathy and action can help those without a home to go to. As with his widely praised debut Me Mam. Me Dad. Me., Malcolm Duffy finds humour and heart even in dire situations. Relevant, warm and rewarding Sofa Surfer is about what happens when going home isn't an option.

Sofa Surfer Press Reviews

'A touching, relevant story of the hidden homeless ... Duffy's writing is touching, considerate and illuminating, carefully avoiding negative stereotypes or unrealistic rescues. This is a fast-paced story with real heart that will leave all readers ever-changed. A must for all school libraries' The School Librarian

'Shines an uncompromising light on the plight of homeless teenagers and the dangers faced by them on the streets. This is a book that will make you think about how far you would be prepared to help someone like Spider. And in today's troubled times, the ending is particularly poignant and apt' Crime Review

'A compelling story about homelessness that manages to be very entertaining' Sunday Times

'This powerful and insightful story highlights the rise of homelessness while never losing humour or heart. It's about family, belonging and the importance of kindness and understanding. Great for book clubs and topical discussion in class' South Wales Evening Post

'A glorious, soaring voice telling an important story. Made me guts feel funny, like I was on a rollercoaster' Joanna Nadin, author of Joe All Alone

'This is a book which sadly is all too pertinent to the lives of young people today and in the foreseeable political future. A crusading novel that more than lives up to the promise of that powerful debut. Highly recommended' Joy Court, LoveReading

'A story with great heart, and wisdom, which shows the healing power of true friendship' Ele Fountain, author of Boy 87

'Duffy confirms the promise of his debut Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. in a pertinent and empathetic novel' The Bookseller

'A crusading novel on a topic that sadly looks to be timeless' Financial Times

'This story about homelessness is truthful and compelling, and Duffy has a talent for imparting serious ideas entertainingly' Book of the Week, Sunday Times

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781786697684
Publication date: 07/01/2021
Publisher: Zephyr an imprint of Head of Zeus
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781786697677
Publication date: 06/02/2020
Publisher: Zephyr an imprint of Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781786697684
Publication date: 7th January 2021
Author: Malcolm Duffy
Publisher: Zephyr an imprint of Head of Zeus
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 336 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Fiction PSHE Titles, Gritty Reads

About Malcolm Duffy

Malcolm Duffy is a Geordie born and bred. His debut novel, MeMam. Me Dad. Me. was inspired by his work as Creative Director ofComic Relief, meeting women who’d suffered domestic abuse. He is the screenwriter of MICAL, a film about dyslexia inspired by the true story of Pat and Mike Jones, to be realeased by Silverprince Pictures in 2020. Photo credit: James W. Fortune

More About Malcolm Duffy

More Books By Malcolm Duffy

Cover for Sofa Surfer by Malcolm Duffy
Cover for Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. by Malcolm Duffy
Cover for Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. by Malcolm Duffy
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