Jimmy Cricket is currently being studied in Austria:-
BOOK REVIEW: JIMMY CRICKET BY KEVIN BROOKE
(MAD HATTER REVIEWS)
Admittedly, I’m not quite the target market in mind for Kevin Brooke’s Young Adult novel, Jimmy Cricket that was released late September. However, the fact that I enjoyed it – despite not being the audience this book was written for – should speak volumes about the quality of this touching piece of fiction that will undoubtedly reach out to younger and older readers alike.
Jimmy Cricket tells the story of 15-year-old Jimmy who is forced to move in with his aging grandmother following the death of his parents. As if that wasn’t difficult enough for any teenager to deal with, Jimmy repeatedly falls in with the wrong crowd and finds his adolescence hi-jacked by his best friend, Dean, who often seems to hinder more than help.
It’s emotional, touching, and entirely accurate and that’s why, irrespective of the age of the reader, Jimmy’s antics – that involve petty theft, too much alcohol, and, shock horror, the first love of his life – will prove to be completely relatable.
Brooke’s prose is accessible, and his tendency to finish chapters at the precise point that you wish to know more is a worthy skill for any writer. I’ve said before that the mark of good fiction is whether it passes the one-more-chapter test, and Jimmy Cricket certainly does. I needed to know what he was going to do next, and I needed to frown judgementally – whilst quietly sympathising – when he made yet another mistake.
The reader observes Jimmy pushed from pillar to post by his friends, whilst making a number of typical teenager mistakes with his first girlfriend, Dayla – who proves to be an important character in the book. However, she’s not quite as important as Mark, the latest in a long line of family support workers who are sent to help Jimmy and his grandmother. I’ll deliberately skirt around the character here, because I don’t want to ruin things for potential readers, but Mark is not only well-constructed but he’s also entirely necessary and complimentary to the character of Jimmy – they fit so well together, and ultimately lend a genuine poignancy to many points within the book.
Overall, it’s a neat little novel. Brooke writes his characters with conviction, creating convincing scenarios in which the reader can’t help but feel sympathy, disappointment, and sometimes even embarrassment as we are catapulted into the all-too-familiar world of teenage life, as seen by Jimmy.
Jimmy Cricket is available to buy now from Amazon and through the Black Pear Press website; and, if you want to know more about the author, you can read our interview with him in Performance & Arts today as well.
The Roman Citizens from Class 6B
The Roman Citizens from Class 6B was ‘Commended’ in the Words for the Wounded Independent Author competition in 2015. It was recently used as a key stage 2 resource in Malvern Wells Primary school.
Ben has an amazing talent – his pictures come to life! When he and his friends Calum and Maisie are transported onto a Battlefield, their Roman adventures begin. Aimed at an approximate reading age of 6-10, the story includes a chariot race in the Circus Maximus, a day in the Roman Senate and a daring rescue of a slave girl called Phina from the lions in the Colosseum. After hiding in the Catacombs, Ben draws one last picture and he, Calum, Maisie and Phina are transported back to England – 61Ad England to be precise where they are soon charging towards the Roman Army alongside Boudicca, the Iceni Queen.