Monday, 5 February 2018

BOOK REVIEW | 'The Last Days of Archie Maxwell' by Annabel Pitcher (****)

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am delighted to be posting another book review, for a novella I read before Christmas - from the wonderful Annabel Pitcher, who you might know wrote Ketchup Clouds and Silence is Goldfish. The Last Days of Archie Maxwell is another brilliant Barrington Stoke publication - and again I have to applaud the gorgeous, clear font, the quality of the pages and the cover art. If you haven't already picked up a Barrington Stoke book yet, I'd highly recommend doing so <3

The Last Days of Archie Maxwell is a brilliantly written, heart-wrenching novel all about modern family life, being a teenager and all the confusion and complications this brings up. When Archie's Dad leaves, he doesn't think life can get any harder. But when a massive secret is discovered that threatens to break up Archie's family for good, Archie doesn't know what the future holds anymore. Will Archie be able to find his own truth, and will he be able to live with it?

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Full of love, humour and heartbreak, this beautifully crafted YA novella from the multi-award-winning author of Ketchup Clouds and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is a compassionate and distinctive tale of modern family life and its issues.

When Archie’s dad leaves, it throws his life into turmoil. He discovers there’s been a secret at the heart of his cosy family life – and he can’t accept the truth of that secret, however hard he tries. So, Archie heeds the siren call of the trains that run past the end of his garden. But when he finds himself at the track, he realises that the trains have been calling to someone else too. Someone Archie knows very well indeed. This is the story of what happens when they meet.

Right from the first page I fell hopelessly in love with this story. The writing was so effortlessly beautiful but also searingly honest. Archie is a brilliant character and everything about him was so realistic as to what goes through the mind of a teenager at a really crucial point in their life. 

The story itself was perfectly plotted and really suited the length of a novella. I felt totally satisfied with how the story was structured and this was the perfect book to snuggle up with in bed and devour in one evening. There were plenty of twists that kept me on edge and the story was emotional yet realistic in equal measures.

Another brilliant part of The Last Days of Archie Maxwell is the way that Pitcher deals with numerous important issues in such a sensitive but also honest way. Family relationships, sexuality, bullying and suicide are all carefully and intricately explored in the novella, and Pitcher really reveals the honest truth of these issues, and the various ways in which people can respond to them. For me, the message at the heart of the novel is the unquestionable importance of kindness, and acceptance is embroiled in this idea of kindness in the story. 

The Last Days of Archie Maxwell is a hugely important story for teenagers and adults alike, and can definitely be dubbed as essential reading. If you haven't discovered Annabel Pitcher's writing already, I would highly recommend that you do so - her voice is an exquisite and significant star in the incredible galaxy which is the YA universe!

Check out Annabel Pitcher here:

Until next time :)

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