YA: Steve & Frandan Take on the World by Ron Butlin

Review published on April 17, 2017.

As a child I loved Enid Blyton, especially The Famous Five series, so I have often wondered which books now rock the boat for young readers.

Well, here is one well worth recommending!

Steve is fed up of cyberbully Thor and his Vikings, who plague and threaten him through social media. This spreads to his best friends Dan and sister Fran (for whom Steve has a very soft spot). So, the novel begins with the threesome leaving home one night and hoping to sail away for an adventure on a raft they’ve made themselves.

First problem – the raft crashes and sails away leaving them stuck some miles from home. Searching out some caves they know the three youngsters hope to have a break from their tormentors, little realising that their hiding place has put then straight into the hands of even worse dudes!

This is a fantastic adventure story with great characters. Including Steve’s dog Nessie as part of the gang brings a fun element into the plot that leads the group into dangerous and very exciting challenges.

I liked the way Fran as the girl was on equal par with the two lads and that the story didn’t flinch from some very grown up issues that many young people are faced with these days.

It’s aimed at 8-12 year olds and I read it in a couple of hours, but it’s one to recommend for parents, grandparents and schools. Anyway, just as we are all often part of book groups/clubs it’d be good to see more youngsters having their own chance to turn off electronic equipment and dive into more novels too!

Ron Butlin is such a versatile author and marvellous poet. He’s definitely got the right pitch with this book and I look forward to more (even though my sons are in their 20s now!).

Philipa Coughlan 5/3

Steve & Frandan Take on the World by Ron Butlin
BC Books 9781780274393 pbk May 2017

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