This book is one of the first stops on my journey to read more Y.A. books (Young Adult for those not in the know), not only because I’d like to, but also because I’ve got a column on the newly-launched Waterstones Birmingham High Street YA Blog (yabirmingham.blogspot.com). Anyway, self-promotion aside, I really quite enjoyed ‘Waiting For Gonzo’ by Dave Cousins, author of ’15 Days Without a Head’.
Having not read a tremendous amount of Teenage Fiction (except what I read when I was actually still a teenager) I wasn’t sure what to think of this at first. However, I must admit that this judgement was based primarily on the cover of the book. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I couldn’t help but be put off by the bright shiny cover, but I really shouldn’t have made this judgement, as the book is a perfect example of how Teen Fiction can be so excellent!
Oz finds himself in a new village, removed from a life he once knew and removed from his best friends. After starting at his new school, he soon attracts the attention of the ‘school psycho’ Isobel Skinner, who he quickly grows an affection for. He soon ends up on the bad-side of most people and he knows that he needs to put things right, one way or another. His sister gets pregnant, his mom is involved in an accident (that he helped cause), his only friend is as geeky as they come and to top it all off he’s talking to a voice inside his own head.
Books like this prove that fiction aimed at young adults doesn’t always have to follow the typical ideas of vampires, witches and wizards, etc. (that’s not to knock HP, Twilight, Half Bad etc). They can, however, deal with ‘proper’ issues that most teenagers have to come up against in daily life such as family, love and new emotions. ‘Waiting For Gonzo’ tells us that it’s okay to be different; it’s okay to not always get along with your family; it’s okay to get into trouble (sometimes, and for a good reason) and more importantly that it’s okay to stand up for what you think is best.
Dave Cousins has a fluid writing style that makes reading his work effortless but not boring. This is the ideal book for fans of reading stories about realistic lives that they can appreciate and relate to. I’ll be sure to check out Cousins’ other books as soon as I’ve read the rest of my pile!
Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Oxford University Press