Saturday, 12 June 2010

Street Heroes by Joe Layburn

May 2010, Frances Lincoln
144 pages, Paperback
Review Copy


Cushions: 4
Daggers: 1
Smiles: 2
Tissues: 1
Nayuleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary from Frances Lincoln 

Georgie's dad, George Smith is a highly controversial politician whose aim is to get rid of non-white people from London's East End. Everyone assumes Georgie shares his father's views, even his father. But while he loves his dad, he's really not sure what he thinks. And then he begins to hear a voice in his head, the voice of a Muslim girl called Fatima ... 

My name is Fatima, I know you can hear me....

Meanwhile Fatima is also contacting other children in difficult situations, including Omar and Melissa. When an attempt is made to kill George Smith he responds by planning a repeat of the historical Battle of Cable Street when Fascists demonstrating against Jewish immigrants confronted local people. How can the mysterious Fatima and her gang stop Smith, and which side will Georgie be on?

I'm not fond of people like Georgie's father. I struggle to understand where their seemingly narrow-minded views come from. I admit to not thinking about what their families are like. Georgie isn't like his father. Not deep down inside. This story is all about Georgie finding the strength to stand against his father, to learn that it is okay to have his own opinion on the world, even if they don't match up to his father's ideals. 

Georgie is definitely in a tough position. His father's personality is domineering, and until Georgie meets Fatima he doesn't really consider finding out what he believes in, who he is and where his place is in the world. After Fatima his whole world changes. 

It's not easy hearing Fatima in his head - after all, people who hear voices are crazy, right? Not so in this case. Fatima's supernatural ability is put to good use, uniting a force of children who Georgie's dad mistaken thinks are insignificant. 

This is a story which addresses the issue of racism and prejudice. The prejudice is examined at all angles: prejudice against the Jews, the Poles, Georgie's own family, and also his new friends, who are united by one purpose. It demonstrates that everyone can make a difference, no matter who they are. And that peaceful negotiations can work. (Sometimes.)

I enjoyed how the supernatural element felt a natural part of the book. I can happily say there is a sequel to Street Heroes, one called Street Heroes: Runaways! 

Be sure to check out Ghostscape, also by Joe Layburn

No comments: