Tuesday, June 7, 2016
A seven letter word by Kim Slater
This book, A Seven Letter Word, completely grabs the reader right from the opening lines as we read a letter Finlay is writing to his absent mum. This sets up the mystery. Where is his mum? Why did she leave? Why is his dad angry and silent? You will never anticipate the set of events that meant his mother had to leave and you will never guess the ending. But you need to stick with this book because it takes a while for the action to really heat up. By page 215 you will be gasping for air as the plot begins to twist in unpredictable directions.
You can see from the cover this book is about Scrabble but it about so much more. Confusion, friendships and terrible, unrelenting bullying. Finlay has a terrible stutter and this makes him a target for one of the thugs from his school a boy called Oliver.
"I don't expect the blow that sends me careering head first into the steel pole. A sharp pain bounces around the inside of my skull. I can feel Oliver pulling at my rucksack and all I can think is that my Scrabble tile bag is in there, the one mum made me before she left."
There are two heroes in this story - Finlay himself and his Scrabble mentor a girl called Maryam. She is an older girl in her final year of High School and her wise counsel to Finlay along with excellent Scrabble strategies make her the sort of character you wish you could meet in real life.
Here is the web site for the author who has also written Smart which is on my to read list. You can read some reviews by young readers here and here is a terrific review. I don't usually state an age for readers but A Seven Letter word is a book best suited to mature senior Primary students. This book came to our library from Bloomin' Books - they always send us terrific titles in our monthly book package.
I would recommend reading Tiger Rising after A Seven Letter Word. Readers who enjoy books about games and competitions might also enjoy Chess Nuts and Speechless.