Wednesday 11 April 2012

102. Other Brother by Simon French

Other Brother by Simon French
Published April 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

Kieran wants to be part of the in-group at school. He wants to be on the football team. He wants to fit in. But then his cousin Bon turns up. Bon doesn't know anything about fitting in he looks different, he wears the wrong clothes, and he says weird things. Kieran just wants to ignore Bon, but soon he is forced to make a choice. Which is more important being popular, or doing the right thing? 

When I read the blurb for this book I immediately thought of one of my favourite books of all time, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  After reading it, I would say that in some regards it’s very similar, but in others, it is quite different.

Kieran’s best friend has moved away and he’s a little lost without him.  All he wants to do is to play soccer and have friends again, so he tries to befriend the most popular boys, Mason and Lucas, at school.

Kieran didn’t even know he had a cousin, and now he is moving in with their Nan and spending weekends at his house. Bon has long hair, scruffy clothes and just isn’t like the other kids at school. Bon’s mother has left him, she’s not well and can’t cope. They have spent their lives moving around and Bon has never had a real home.  When Bon moves to town everything changes.  All of a sudden Kieran doesn’t have his own room at his Nans, he has to share his bedroom when Bon comes to stay, and Bon even has to come on holiday with him.  

Basically Kieran is jealous, he doesn’t like how Bon is pushing into his life, having the attention of his parents, Nan and sister.  In an attempt to fit in with the cool kids, he joins in with the other boys at school when they pick on him.  It’s not until they decide to do something really mean, that Kieran stops and thinks about what he’s doing and why.

While this book is a little about what it’s like to not fit in, it’s more about looking more closely at someone else’s life.  About rethinking the initial judgements we may make about people when we may not have all of the facts. I like the fact that this book is believable, it makes perfect sense that Kieran feels the way he does, and he doesn’t suddenly become best friends with Bon.  He does become nicer to Bon, but it is something he has to work on.

Who will like this book: Boys and girls age 10+
Read it if you like: books about bullying, friendship and fitting in.

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