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Cuckoo by Keren David - Review

Friday, November 22, 2019

Where did I get it? It was one of the first books I ever got on Netgalley, but it has shamefully taken me until now to read it. Many thanks go to Little Brown Books for letting me read it, though. 

What's it about? Jake is sixteen and an actor. He's been on Market Square, a popular soap, until a few months ago, when his character, Riley Elliott, was sent upstairs and not seen again. Jake has been auditioning for other parts but it's so far come to nothing. His dad, Neil, is determined to sort out what is happening with Riley and whether Jake will reprise the role, only Jake's agency isn't being very helpful. The family is running out of money and Jake is getting stressed about life. Add in that his brother is nonverbal and autistic and the family have to move makes Jake want to leave home, so he ends up staying with friends for a while. 

The book isn't told in a straightforward narrative like this, though. It's told as scripts of web episodes that Jake has made and put on to the internet. For some reason, Market Square has been cancelled, and people are blaming Jake for it. He's attempting to get his side of the story across by having some parts where he just talks to the camera, and other parts where he gets some of his fellow actors to act the parts of his parents, brother, friends. 

It's not the most in depth book, because it is told through scripts and web episodes, but I thought it was a unique way to tell a story and quite interesting. I felt bad for Jake and I wanted to know what had happened and how he would tell the story. I liked the inclusion of viewers' comments too, it showed how a lot of them just wanted the gossip and didn't care what had happened to Jake. 

What age range is it for? 14+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, as the above too, but none of these stories are told in much depth. They are there, though. 

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No 

Is there any talk of death? I don't think so. 

Are there swear words? No. 

What criticisms do I have? Not many, really. I liked the format. It was a cute book to read on holiday. 

Would I recommend the book? Yes if you're a fan of the author. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I was scrolling for ages through the books on my Kindle app and I saw it and remembered I had wanted to read it. 

What do I think of the cover? It's very colourful and eye catching, so I like it. 

What other books is it like? Gosh, I can't think of any. 

How many stars? Seven out of ten. 

Cuckoo was published in August 2016. I was given a free electronic copy of the novel but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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