Socks Are Not Enough by Mark Lowery

Socks Are Not Enough

Written by Mark Lowery

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Winner of the 2013 Leeds Book Award 11-14 age category.

A Piece of Passion from the Publisher: We at Scholastic Children’s Books are very proud to be publishing Socks Are Not Enough by Mark Lowery. It genuinely takes a lot to make me laugh – especially out loud. So it may have surprised my colleagues when I spent an entire afternoon at my desk snorting with amusement. “What is SO funny?” they enquired. I proceeded to read them extract after extract of the “really hilarious submission” I was reading. Yes – that submission was the wonderful SOCKS ARE NOT ENOUGH, Mark Lowery’s debut novel.

The protagonist, Michael Swarbrick, is the ultimate geek. But every reader of Socks Are Not Enough will very much identify with him. I know I certainly did. Anyone who remembers being 14 will recall the same cringe-worthy embarrassment at their parents’ or best friend’s behaviour as Michael does on coming home to discovering his parents are secret nudists – and ready to go public! Sure, my parents weren’t nudists like Michael’s. But my dad did drop me at school on the back of his vintage motorbike which constantly backfired! Any book that makes the reader recall their formative teenage years with so much laughter is one that mustn’t be missed – you’ll even enjoy it if those years are still to come.

Also shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012.


A Review by Katy Poulter, aged 12

Socks are not enough is a fun, light read that made me laugh out loud. Michael is so unfortunate and everything seems to happen to him, this makes him an incredibly easy character to relate to. I really enjoyed it as it was funny and tackled some topics, which are usually avoided, in a light-hearted way but still got across the impact that they have on people’s lives. I wanted to read this book first as I was drawn to it because of the cover, which is bright and quirky, and the blurb, which is intriguing and unusual. I love funny books but you don’t usually see them in award lists so I think that it is brilliant that this list has one in.

Katy Poulter is a member of the Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel but she has reviewed this novel in the first instance for the Leeds Book Award as it is one of the 2013 shortlisted titles. The organisers have kindly agreed to let us also make use of Katy's review.


For further information on the the 2013 Leeds Book Award Award click here.


Socks Are Not Enough by Mark Lowery

Michael Swarbrick's life couldn't get any worse. He's embroiled in a girls' changing room scandal; his idiot brother, a self-proclaimed love God , is snogging his dream girl and he's just come home early to discover his parents are having a cup of tea...

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Below is a Lovereading4kids reader review.

This book follows Michael Swarbrick, a fourteen year old boy, as he recounts the hilariously cringe worthy moments in his life and tales of how the girl he "admires"’ (stalks) once smiled (laughed) at him (when he fell over) and how his brother stole her off him, and how he found out his parents are nudists and their various public displays of "freedom"’ and his fear of donkeys to his councillors Mrs O’Malley (he thinks she’s nice even if she does have massive hands) and Chas (who he hates, because he is about 50 and talks in 80’s slang and acts like a kid) through a laptop (as he is reluctant to talk). He is obsessed with order and organization and therefore uses footnotes (there are 85 of them) and lists. It’s because of this obsession that he hates Chas so much.

I found this book very entertaining and funny and couldn’t put it down for the whole two days after Christmas it took me to read it. It was the first book I’ve read in a long time that has actually made me laugh. This is now one of my new favourite books ever and I would recommend it to anyone over the age of ten because anyone younger may not get the humour. Even my mum found it side splittingly funny. This book is hilariously funny and an outstandingly good read. I give this book a ten out of ten socks!! James Webster, age 13

About the Author

Mark Lowery

The youngest of four children, Mark Lowery was born in North Wales in 1979 and grew up in Preston, Lancs. Although he maintains that his upper body is of average size, many people have suggested that he has an unusually large head and stumpy legs.

His lifelong dream of playing for Everton was cruelly shattered at 18, when he realised that he was actually useless at football. Following this bombshell, he trained to become a primary school teacher. He denies that this was only so that he could be taller than the majority of people in his workplace.

Following a few years of teaching in Leeds, he studied for an MA in Writing for Children at the University of Winchester. After graduating he taught at schools in Ipswich and Italy, whilst writing in his spare time. He currently works part-time at a school in Cambridge. His claims that he is “the staff-room eye-candy” have been strenuously ridiculed by all those who work alongside him.

Mark is a fluent speaker of terrible Italian. He enjoys playing the guitar, football, swimming, snowboarding, reading and running around. However, as a father of two small humans, he has recently put some of these interests on hold in favour of nappy-changing and baby-entertaining. He has a real-life girlfriend who definitely exists, and his favourite meal is steak pie, mash and beans.

Socks Are Not Enough is his first novel. It deals with what Mark considers to be two of the most pressing issues of the twenty-first century – parental nudity and custard cream addiction. It is his sincere hope that this book will in some way reach out to the sufferers of these terrible afflictions.

Pants Are Everything, Mark’s second book, is published July 2013, published by Scholastic Children’s Books.

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Publication date

2nd February 2012




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