Lark by Anthony McGowan – book review

I chose to read Lark as it is the winner of the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal. This is probably the most renowned children’s book award here in the UK. It is judged annually by children’s librarians and awarded to an outstanding book for children and young people. However thousands of children and young people also get to participate in a shadowing scheme, reading the books on the shortlist via reading clubs in schools and public libraries. Each year young people who take part in the scheme are invited to vote for their favourite books to win the Shadowers’ Choice Awards. These are usually announced alongside the Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal winners, however due to lockdown, shadowing has been extended until the Autumn. So this year the Shadowers’ Choice Award winners will be announced during National Libraries Week on the 9th October.

Lark by Anthony McGowan

Here is the book blurb.

Things are tense at home for Nicky and Kenny. Their mum’s coming to visit and it will be the first time they’ve seen her in years. A lot has changed since they were little and Nicky’s not so sure he’s ready to see her again. When they head for a trek across the moors to take their minds off everything, a series of unforeseen circumstances leaves the brothers in a vulnerable and very dangerous position. There might even be a chance that this time not everyone will make it home alive.

Lark is the fourth title in The Truth of Things series but works fine as a stand-alone read. It has been published by Barrington Stoke whose books all have a dyslexia-friendly layout, typeface and paperstock.

Nicky is the younger brother, but he is very much in charge of their day out during the Easter holiday, as Kenny, his elder brother has a learning disability and attends a special school. They have planned a walk on the moors with their dog Tina to ease Kenny’s boredom and to clear Nicky’s head about everything else going on in his life currently. It will take three buses to reach the moors, but they have printed out a map for the 2 mile walk to the next village.

Simple. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot actually but you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Lark has a reading age of 9, but should be of interest to teens. I really enjoyed this book which at 120 pages, didn’t take me long to read, although the epilogue caught me by surprise. It was full of humour, suspense and emotion. I did try to encourage my elder son who has become a reluctant reader, to give it a try, but sadly he declined.

This is the first book I’ve read by Anthony McGowan, but I shall certainly be adding more of his titles to my TBR list. Perhaps I should have read Brock, Pike and Rook first.

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4 thoughts on “Lark by Anthony McGowan – book review

  1. sarahmo3w

    This does sound like a very good read. It’s nice to hear that teenagers would enjoy it too, as I think my daughter might like it. Three buses and a two mile walk? That definitely rang alarm bells with me!


    1. mumjd Post author

      Yes the content is aimed at teens, with Nicky and Kenny being in their teens. However like some other Barrington Stoke titles, it has a younger reading age. They particularly try to make books more appealing to reluctant readers and those who finding reading difficult



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