- Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
- Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.
- Write three words to describe the book.
- Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.
Following on from last week’s post which finally got my review of the hilarious Freddie Yates posted, I thought I’d use this week to highlight another book I read a while ago but have been lax in reviewing…
TrooFriend by Kirsty Applebaum, art by Sam Kalda, published by Nosy Crow.
I loved The Middler by this author and while TrooFriend didn’t leave me with quite such a book hangover, it was nevertheless a very clever and very enjoyable read that I would be recommending to many young readers if work was open at the moment!
Like The Middler, it takes on a potentially dark and difficult subject area not typically seen in children’s fiction and makes it not just appropriate, but appealing, relatable and interesting for a younger age.
Set in a fictional but plausible not-too-distant future, Sarah is given a Troofriend by her parents. The Troofriend is an android designed to be given to children as a ‘safe’ friend – one that will not bully, harm, lie, covet, steal or envy – a perfect friend in fact. But reports start to come in that the robots are developing real feelings and putting their owners at risk of harm.
Not only does this open up many questions about rights, freedoms, morality, parenting, values and actions but it also deftly and realistically explores issues of friendship that will be familiar to many (if not all) in one way or another – the desire to belong, to be popular and fit in; falling out with best friends and the challenges of making new friends.
I thought the way we saw Ivy gradually becoming sentient was so clever and having the reader see what was happening ahead of but not instead of the characters was very effective. Likewise, I thought the way we grow to really feel for Ivy was equally well done.
Overall, this was a quick but original and cleverly written read that blended contemporary MG with sci-fi ideas seamlessly.
In three words?
Technology. Friendship. Philosophical.
My favourite sentence from page 11
Yes, Shirley-Mum. My name is Ivy. Sarah named me. I like my name very much.