The Final Year

Publisher: Otter-Barry Books

Ten-year-old Nate lives with his mum and two younger brothers, Jax aged eight and Dylan, who’s four and thinks he’s Spiderman. The brothers are a tight little unit and, as the eldest, Nate takes care of the younger two when Mum is out with Auntie San at bingo, enjoying a few ciders.

When his best friend PS is put in a different Year 6 class, Nate is gutted, especially when PS starts to hang out with Nate’s nemesis, school bully Turner. New teacher Mr Joshua notices that Nate loves reading and writing, so encourages him to use words to help process his emotions, giving him a special notebook so he can write down his thoughts and manage his anger. However, Nate’s world is turned upside-down when Dylan is rushed into hospital. How will he cope if his little brother doesn’t pull through?

This incredibly powerful novel, written entirely in free verse, really packs a punch. Nate’s innermost thoughts burst from the pages, enabling readers to really connect with his intense feelings of pain, anger and love. Thoughtful black-and-white illustrations punctuate the text of this spectacular debut novel, which is a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting read.

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