Extracted from latest Guardian review roundup by Imogen Russell-Williams:
For 8 and up, there’s a debut novel from DJ Christian O’Connell, chronicling Spike Hughes’ rise to subversive fame as Radio Boy (HarperCollins), the presenter of a secret online radio show calling for homework strikes and celebrations of failure. While occasionally overwritten, the story boasts both heart and hilarity, and should definitely inspire budding broadcasters, especially with Rob Biddulph’s images showing the layout of the shed-built studio.
In Lisa Thompson’s Goldfish Boy (Scholastic), meanwhile, Matthew is trapped in his room by encroaching OCD, making meticulous notes of his neighbours’ movements. Will his minute observations help solve the case of a missing child? With clear echoes of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this carefully judged, poignant story should help those with OCD feel less alone – and help others understand the impulses behind painful acts of repetition. It’s an intriguing, involving mystery, too.
Set in Syria and beyond, Elizabeth Laird’s Welcome to Nowhere (Macmillan) features the immensely likable Omar, a 12-year-old would-be entrepreneur, and his family – his activist brother Musa, undeterred by cerebral palsy, and his hard working, academic sister Eman. When civil war breaks out, the fleeing family find themselves refugees. What will their future hold? A muscular, moving, thought-provoking book from an award-winning writer, with Lucy Eldridge’s transporting illustrations.