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Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray - Review

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"It's not really kidnapping, is it? He'd have to be alive for it to be proper kidnapping."

Where did I get it? I recently bought a bunch of UK YA titles as part of my research into the current market. I had Keith Gray recommended to me, and chose this one.

What's it about? Kenny, Sim, Blake and Ross are friends, but Ross has just died. The novel starts just after his funeral when the remaining three decide to kidnap his ashes and take him to Ross, in Scotland, a place that Ross had always wanted to visit.

They set off from Cleethorpes with tickets in hand, but clearly things go awry and friendships start to fray. There's some hilarity and a lot of chaos. By the end of the novel we've learnt an awful lot about Ross, his death, and his friends.

A reviewer on Goodreads commented that the first 30-50 pages are hard to get into, and I'd definitely agree. I first picked the book up weeks ago, but couldn't get through the first bit. I persevered while on a train and loved the rest of the novel. The first 50 pages are stilted and weird; do push through if you can!

What age range is it for? Due to subject matter I'd recommend it for 15+

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No.

Are any main characters non-white? No, if they are it's not stated.

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, but I can't say more because it would be a spoiler.

Is there any sex stuff? Not explicitly. The boys talk about girls and there's some tame kissing and stuff.

Is there any talk of death? Yep - it's sort of the premise.

Are there swear words? Yes, but they're not frequent.

Would I recommend the book? Yes, definitely. The boys' friendship and passion is really lovely, There's genuinely funny and genuinely sad moments, and I love how it's a pretty typical road trip novel, albeit with a different premise and set in the North of the UK.

How many stars? A good 8 out of 10.

Where is the book going now? I will keep it for now, but probably loan it out!

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