Smart by Kim Slater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
'I found Jean's friend dead in the river. His name was Colin Kirk. He was a homeless man, but he still wanted to live.'
There's been a murder, but the police don't care. It was only a homeless old man after all.
Kieran cares. He's made a promise, and when you say something out loud, that means you're going to do it, for real. He's going to find out what really happened. To Colin. And to his grandma, who just stopped coming round one day. It's a good job Kieran's a master of observation, and knows all the detective tricks of the trade.
But being a detective is difficult when you're Kieran Woods. When you're amazing at drawing but terrible at fitting in. And when there are dangerous secrets everywhere, not just outside, but under your own roof.'
I was sent this book in exchange for a honest review.
This was a surprise from the publisher, I knew nothing about it but after reading the blurb I was excited to get started.
This is a story about a boy called Kieran, he has a bit of a hard home life. He is autistic, lives at home with his mum and her abusive boyfriend and his son. Kieran spends a lot of his time alone and doesn't have any friends. He is down at the river one day and discovers the body of a homeless man, Colin along with Jean, a homeless woman that Kieran spends time with.
Kieran spends a lot of time watching CSI and he believes the police aren't taking this death seriously, he believes Colin was murdered and he will be the one who gets to the bottom of it.
This book is a child's book, however I am unsure the exact age group this was intended for and I think that it actually is quite dark and not suitable for the early teens down to some of the descriptions and the themes covered in the book. The plot covers many controversial issues that I feel a younger audience would struggle to cope it.
I feel Kim Slater is a very good writer as she has managed to create Kieran's voice well, it is believable and obvious when reading it that there is something not quite right about Kieran. Kim also portrays Kieran as a smart boy and one that actually knows a lot. Kieran's character is wonderful in the book and at times your heart really go out to him. He goes through a lot in a short space of time and you just want to hug him when things turn bad.
All the charaters in the book are well developed, Jean and Colin have back stories which make them more 3 Dimensional. I am disappointed that Kieran's mum doesn't step up in the book and I feel her character was not created as well as it could have been. Tony you developed to hate right from the beginning but it was clear early on that Ryan was scared of his father and you are lead to believe that he could have been his friend if it was not because of Tony.
I was really pleased when Kieran made a friend at school and they seemed to balance each other nicely. Neither of them judged one another because of the way they were, which is nice and actually is the message that comes through in the book. Do not judge someone from their outer appearance.
There were so many issues and story lines going on in this book and it is relatively short, Kim Slater managed to pack a lot into this story but it worked well. It kept your interest and was a very quick read.
I did enjoy the story, however I still believe that it is a little dark for the audience it is intended for, because of this I have rated the book 4 star. I thought the writing style was excellent and she approached the subjects with care and sympathy.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to review.