"Laughter, tears and a huge helping of seasonal magic"
December 2023 Debut of the Month
A musical novel is indeed a unique concept, but one that will add to the reading experience most enjoyably and the songs themselves are absolutely delightful, encompassing a huge of styles from true music theatre power ballads to funny ditties! When the reader scans the QR code on the page you can hear the author and company sing them and the performances are as polished and perfect as you would expect from a renowned West End musical star!
The book provides the lyrics to all the songs at the end which makes it a fantastically useful resource for schools and families to enjoy a sing along. I can imagine many a Christmas assembly making use of There is No Day Quite Like Christmas Day! There is a website (theboywhoslept.com) with videos and activities to accompany the book too.
But even without the songs, I predict this debut novel will fast become a seasonal favourite. It is a magical and genuinely heartwarming tale. I fail to see how anyone could avoid falling in love with the central character, Leo, who really loves Christmas in an obsessed sort of way. This was something he shared with his Mum and together they would plan and bake and decorate to the max.
But sadly, Mum passed away a few months ago, and Leo is almost taking on the role of carer for the family. His father is wrapped up in his grief, his teenage brother stays in his room and his little sister is too young to help. Leo wants to make Christmas perfect and writes endless lists with endless tasks for him to complete. Things go wrong and the tasks just accumulate, despite working till all hours and as the title implies, disaster strikes.
It will require real magic to get a happy ending and with a little adult suspension of disbelief, we can all root for that. A lovely bend of humour and pathos, relatable characters and sparkling dialogue, this is a lovely Christmas treat of a book.