Max Kowalski Didn’t Mean It

Publisher: Puffin

Max has a terrible habit of getting in trouble – he really doesn’t mean it, but somehow things just go wrong. His home life is tough too: since mum died, Max’s dad works several jobs and Max has to help look after his three little sisters. Then, after one too many not-quite-legal jobs, Dad gets into trouble too and leaves Max all alone to look after his three little sisters.

Dad hasn’t said how long he’ll be gone and Max knows he’s expected to step up, to be a ‘Big Man’, but he’s scared and it’s definitely not fair. So after finding a key to a remote Welsh cottage, Max makes a plan: hide out in Wales until Dad gets back. It seems like a great idea at first, but when things go from bad to worse, can he find a way to make them right? And should he have to?

A remarkable book about families, being a boy and coping with loss. The characters are supremely well written, the author sensitively exploring how there are different ways to be a man and how boys are shaped into men. An emotional read about real-life challenges and figuring out where you belong.

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