Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Book Review: I'll Be Home for Christmas by Various

My recent interaction with the Homeless was two of men swearing people out. Ar...Scotland.

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah.

£1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity. To find out more about Crisis, see

Before reading this book I was concerned that this would be an anthology where the stories didn't match at all with each other. Christmas,  Home and Homeless are the themes I'm guessing the writer were given. This book does contains some writers I really like, one I studied in school and one I have yet to find anything likable about. I wasn't going to request this book, until I realise Cat Clarke was in it and I must read everything she ever published.

Home and Away by Benjamin Zephaniah: This a poem and despite being taught several times how to citizens and write poems I don't feel confident on the matter,  but I still have a  jotter full of Face's quote. It's about how you could become homeless.

Ghosts of Christmas Past by Non Pratt: There are no actual ghosts and this is just a standard contemporary Sam is dealing with now living with his Nan and being awkward with girls. 4/5 stars for Tree Cravings.

If Only in my Dreams by Marcus Sedgwick: returning to the tradition of horror at Christmas and Space. Bit of a cliché plot. Also Also the British don't care about American poems about Christmas. It's written well as always by Sedgwick. 4/5 stars for darkness dreams.

Family You Choose by Cat Clarke: Queer fun. With a character that doesn't speak.  Very nice. Unusual Christmas dinner. Hinting at bigger life. Birthday blues. 5/5 stars for silent cake.

 The Associates
by Kevin Brooks: The day in the life of two Homeless men who mainly hassle people. I don't know if I'm missing the point or if Brooks is missing the mark in trying to humanise homelessness. I think this story needs to be fleshed out a bit more, especially as for a day in life, big gaps are hinting at being missing.  Also have no clue by what is meant by the title. 3/5 stars for cliché needles.

The Afterschool Club by Holly Bourne: Rich Boy, Poor Girl, spending time together to avoid going home and do their homework together. I liked the characters in this one and the writing, as well the hinting at the deep issues at play as well as the ones on the surface. 4/5 stars for Coat swapping.

Homo for Christmas by
Juno Dawson: The lesson in this story is to use private mode. We also have another uni age character dealing with their sexuality similar to Cat Clarke's story. These two fit together at least, but these one did feel a little more mature than the ones before it.  5/5 stars for Skinful.

Amir and George by Sita Brahmachari: This story deals with the series and current topic of refugee. Its also write in the style of someone whose not good at English (as though it was foreign language to them) which was interesting stab at realism. 5/5 stars for found lemons.

The Letter by Tracy Darnton: Darnton won a contest to be included in this book.
This doesn’t feel like a short story and more like the start up of a novel as the eventful stuff has either happened or about to happen.There's interesting story there, but this glimpse into Amber's life is a small catalyst that hints at several possibility. Though, I can tell from this that Darnton is a skilled writer. 4/5 stars for Bowling shoes.

Claws by
Tom Becker: Everything I have ever read before by Becker has been insultingly terrible, at least this was just insulting, but I feel like that Becker liked the title of Claws and was gonna force that to make sense. It was alright, its the "someone does something stupid" version of horror therefore you don't care about the main character which is unsuccessfully. 2/5 stars for fishhooks ribbons. 

Christmas, Take Two by Katy Cannon: Heather is being forced to spend Christmas with her Father's new shorty and her monstrous children. Its mostly be grateful and its Christmas so be happy that no one takes you into account when making important decisions, learned all from a romantic encounter. 3/5 stars for forced stockings.
When Daddy Comes Home by Melvin Burgess: Nothing says Christmas like a dystopia of Politic Corruption. Interesting in that it comes in the form of a monologue. 4/5 stars for Christmas Tricks.

The Bluebird by Julie Mayhew: A modern fairy tale told in the form of a fairy tale, but modern setting. I enjoy writing confusing sentences. Parents holding their kids captive and a romance that might be a lot more alarming than its meant to be. 3/5 stars for burning chips.

Routes and Wings by Lisa Williamson: I really liked this one and does a good job of humanizing Homelessness. 5/5 stars for Bus Fare.

Overall, I give this 4/5 stars for multiple themes. Okay, I get why this book was done and that it for a good cause, but in terms of a coherent anthology most of the stories don't go together. Some of them fit and there could all be sketched to have a theme of home, or at least have the setting of Christmas. I'm probably just way over thinking of this, especially as I'm someone who reads all these genres about the same (except Poetry) within YA. I would recommend this if you're a general YA lover. 

I got this book off Netgalley for review and it is published by Stripes Publishing.

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