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Street Soldier by Andy McNab - Review

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I'll preface this by saying that I've never read any Andy McNab even though I would probably like his stuff as I do like that kind of thriller. I know the story behind the name but have never even so much as picked up any of his books. However, on my trawl round NetGalley I was intrigued by the premise...

Where did I get it? NetGalley, thank you to Penguin Random House Children's books.

What's it about? Sean is sixteen when he gets nicked for stealing a motorbike while escaping from a bigger crime, and gets sent to a Young Offenders Institute where he meets up with two members of his gang, Gaz and Copper. While there, he gets offered the chance to join the army and get away from the gang and life of petty crime. 

There's lots of twists and turns in the novel, and lots of supporting characters who are all well drawn. Sean is a really likeable character with a lot about him. I liked the setting and a lot of the army language used. At the end of the novel Sean turns eighteen. 

I felt the first half was slow and was struggling a bit, but the second half really picked up and I ended up really liking the book as a whole. I'm betting there'll be more books in the series if this one does well. 

What age range is it for? 16+, although your mileage may vary. I'm very much of the opinion that the age of the main character is the age for a reader too, so although I've read a few pearl-clutching reviews saying this is too violent, I believe that it depends on the sixteen year old. Some are streetwise, some are more sheltered. I honestly think this book could really reach out for kids like Sean who have lost their way a bit and even those who think gangs are their families. There's quite a lot about that. 
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Not that it's mentioned.
Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, it's a minor plot point and very well done 
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No
Is there any sex stuff? A tiny bit, but it's not graphic.
Are drugs mentioned or used? No
Is there any talk of death? Yes, it's quite graphic in parts and I'll trigger warn for suicide. 
Are there swear words? Yes, lots. It's set in the army for crying out loud!
Would I recommend the book? Yes, especially to any reluctant readers. 
How many stars? A good seven and a half out of ten. 
Look out for hopefully a giveaway of this book!

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