WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT THE SWIDGER BOOK SERIES
The following comments come mainly from young people themselves. Readers aged ten to fifteen, by arrangements with schools, were given the books as one manuscript (THE DAY THEY SAVED TOMORROW) without knowledge of the author's age, background or gender, and asked to write a short report. THE DAY THEY SAVED TOMORROW manuscript has now been dived and expanded to become THE TIME THAT NEVER WAS, Book One in the series, and THE TIME WE SAVED TOMORROW, Book Two.
One thing everyone agreed on was the laugh-out-loud humour. "What struck me most about reading 'Swidgers' was just how funny it was. I didn't expect to laugh quite so much when reading a story about a lonely boy with special powers," wrote a Year 10 reviewer, and "I found this book to be interesting and funny," said another. Much of the comedy in the book comes from Granny. "My favourite character was Grandma because I thought she was funny," was typical of how many teenage readers reacted to the feisty and bizarre Granny. And teachers fell in love with her too. "The character of Granny is wonderful," one observed, "a genuine source of comedy that is all too commonly lacking in young adult fiction. Her tales and one-liners are laugh-out-loud funny." And he wasn't alone. "The character of Granny is truly inspired… I found myself unable to contain my laughter and trying to get the kids to bed early so I could get on with the next chapter!" said a book club organiser in a school in north London.
"A Real Page Turner"
The pace and plotting has proved popular as well. "I thought the storyline of the book was compelling and made the book hard to put down at times," wrote one young reviewer. "I really enjoyed the book… The story moved really fast and made me want to read on," echoed another. One young student especially liked the "imaginative twists" in the plot and even gave the book the ultimate accolade by calling it "a real page turner". And as ever the teachers and book club organisers were as equally impressed. "The author", wrote the book club organiser from north London, "trusts his readers to decipher the mystery at the heart of the novel, with clever foreshadowing but not too obvious signposting, meaning the suspense is maintained for the adult reader as much as the teenager." "The author is teasing us with foreshadowing of events to come… the final chapter left me wanting more; thank goodness a series is planned," said another book club organiser in Luton.
Many enjoyed the action packed opening sequence which, wrote one Year 9 reviewer, gets you "hyped up for the rest of the story and it does not fail to keep your attention". And on this theme another Year 9 wrote said, "I liked the suspense at the beginning that makes you want to read on". And the crucial first chapter was highly praised by teachers too. "THE DAY THEY SAVED TOMORROW draws you in immediately with a breathless opening sequence in which the young hero is faced with a life or death situation that we discover is a regular occurrence in his role as a 'Swidger'." "I was hooked immediately," wrote the Luton book club organiser, "You could tell there was something unusual about the protagonist and there was an impending sense of doom and disaster; things not going to plan, chance and fate coming into play but everything happening for a reason."
"Fantasy, Sci-fi, Adventure and Comedy – you never know what to expect next"
There's much in the book that readers found entertaining and engaging. "One of the things that makes the book so original is the mixture of fantasy, sci-fi, adventure and comedy, so you never know what to expect next." The writing style was a hit with young teenagers too. "I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book due to the amazing storyline. Character, humour and general style of writing… I loved how all the mysteries and loose ends came together… which showed clever precise and planned writing." And again teachers and book club organisers admired the excellent quality of the writing. "There's a real sense of joy of language here and while they may not understand every single word, young readers will appreciate the sophistication of much of the language, enjoying being treated as a bit more 'grown up' than when reading the latest ALEX RIDER or CHERUB series." "There is some very sophisticated vocabulary and literary, biblical and mythological references," said another, "elements of the book reminded me of MARY POPPINS, THE MAZE RUNNER, HARRY POTTER, DIVERGENT, TWILIGHT and LORD OF THE RINGS – praise indeed!"
"I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to my friends"
All reviewers were keen to read more – "I loved the brilliant cliff-hanger at the end and can't wait to see what's next for William and Granny", "I'd definitely be interested in more books by the author," "I look forward to reading the next in the 'Swidgers', I really enjoyed the book and would definitely read the rest in the series" . And many were happy too to recommend it to others – "I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to my friends" and "I'd recommend it to my friends as I think they'd like the mystery and adventure but also find it funny" were typical comments.
And from the teachers and book club organisers:
"I found THE DAY THEY SAVED TOMORROW to be an exciting page-turner, laced with comedy that will thrill and entertain young audiences."
"A gripping adventure… Highly recommended!"
"An absolute pleasure to read."
Due to confidentiality, these reviews cannot be shown here in full. However, for professionals working in the publishing industry, a PDF of unedited reports can be made available as long as strict confidentially is maintained and observed.