Summary from Goodreads
I found Jean’s friend dead in the river. His name was Colin Kirk. He was a homeless man, but he still wanted to live.
There’s been a murder, but the police don’t care. It was only a homeless old man after all.
Kieran cares. He’s made a promise, and when you say something out loud, that means you’re going to do it, for real. He’s going to find out what really happened. To Colin. And to his grandma, who just stopped coming round one day. It’s a good job Kieran’s a master of observation, and knows all the detective tricks of the trade.
But being a detective is difficult when you’re Kieran Woods. When you’re amazing at drawing but terrible at fitting in. And when there are dangerous secrets everywhere, not just outside, but under your own roof.
This book is awesome! I wasn’t at all expecting it…it crept up and managed to blow me away with it’s gorgeous charm and all-round beauty!
Kieran is an unlikely hero that any reader will be routing for the whole way. He doesn’t see the world quite like everyone else and always gets a bit of a tough time about it. He sees things that others wouldn’t even notice – so he can therefore form a detailed picture of whats going on around him. I LOVE that hes a little font of knowledge and can explain each word or turn of phrase – mainly due to his endless questioning. I don’t think I’ve ever came across a character that I’ve wanted to pick up and protect so badly before – he’s just unforgettably great!
When a homeless man’s body turns up beside the river the police aren’t really too bothered – but the ever observant Kieran is. He makes it his mission to uncover what happened and with his keen interest and knowledge in the crime field, he’s the man for the job. But Kieran has problems at home….problems that scare him but also force him to ask questions….
The ending is just….perfection!
Smart is a fearless debut from Kim Slater that is written with great care and beauty. There are also a lot of tough topics covered with great sensitivity. Smart is funny, chilling, moving, emotional and also hard to read at times because of Kieran’s suffering. Kieran is a smart, inquisitive and very charming guy that I most definitely won’t be forgetting in a hurry – he had me smiling from ear to ear.
5 / 5 Stars!
*Special thansk to Macmillan for the review copy*
KIM SLATER’S TOP TEN UNLIKELY HEROES
Unlikely heroes are an interesting breed. Not your typical confident, well-adjusted or dashingly attractive superhero-sort. They can be flawed, sometimes misguided and stand out for all the wrong reasons – all traits that often make the reader love them more.
In my young adult novel, Smart, Kieran Woods is not your everyday kind of detective. He has a lot of bad stuff going on in his life but he’s a hard young man to keep down. Kieran is loyal to those he cares about, determined in the face of bullying and undeterred in his quest to find out how his best friend’s buddy died.
He uses a variety of tricks and tools to get by in a world where very few people understand him, a major source of strength and inspiration being the art of LS Lowry, Kieran’s own unlikely hero.
Here are my ideas on other unlikely heroes from fantastic YA fiction titles.
1 Amy from Amy and Matthew – Cammie McGovern
Amy has cerebal palsy, which brings communication problems and severely restricts her movement. Nevertheless, she makes the brave decision to replace her five aides with five students – one of whom is Matthew. Amy has hidden strengths and depths and is unflinchingly honest about her limitations. She challenges our ideas of how someone with a debilitating disease thinks and acts.
2 Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
Yes, Greg is selfish and mardy. Greg is nerdy, physically weak and hates sports. But Greg is also hilariously funny, self-depreciating and often kind and generous. He sometimes lets things get to him but he rarely lets others get him down. Greg has an indomitable spirit that we, his readers, love.
3 Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath is an anxious, shy young women who lives most of her life vicariously through writing fan fiction. We watch Cath grow into a more confident young woman who finds the courage to pull away from a life of relying on her sister and constantly worrying about her depressed father.
4 Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter – J K Rowling
Neville helps Harry battle Dark Magic at Hogwarts. The young Neville appears to possess little magical ability, despite his powerful wizarding family background. However, as with
all heroes, transformation ensues and Neville develops from a forgetful squib to a valuable asset to Harry – ultimately saving the day.
5 August Pullman from Wonder – R J Palacio
Auggie has a lot to deal with in life; a physical affliction that makes polite people turn away and less polite people point and cruelly jibe. But does he crumble under the pressure when he is forced to start a new school? He does not. Does he remain strong and even offer support to others, eventually overcoming his difficulties? Yes, he does. Unlikely hero box – ticked.
6 Artemis Fowl from the Artemis Fowl series – Eoin Colfer
Artemis is set apart from others at the beginning as a child who possesses the manner, vocabulary and knowledge of an adult. We watch him transform from a spoilt brat who covets money to a more mature young person who learns respect, coming to realise that there are indeed more important things in life than material wealth.
7 Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Lyra must progress from childhood to womanhood so that she may restore Dust, which has been leaking out of the world. Lyra is a virtual orphan who has the taste for adventure. She is headstrong, quirky and at times, touchingly innocent – perfect ingredients for an unlikely heroine.
8 Standish Treadwell from Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Standish is dyslexic, quirky and brilliant but not everybody understands him. Set in a brutal, scary world, this is a David and Goliath tale. Standish, although perceived to be weak, takes on the big guys with the reader championing this unlikely hero all the way.
9 Cadence Sinclair Easton from We Were Liars by E Lockhart
A controversial choice maybe but we watch as Cadence battles with debilitating migraines and a loss of memory, sometimes confined to her bed for days. Nevertheless she is plucky and often fearless and she is determined to survive in a world where the adults cannot be relied upon and not everything is as it seems.
10 Pearl from The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
Life is very hard for Pearl. Does she let it get her down? Yes, sometimes she does and we love her all the more for it. Battling with strong emotions such as grief, regret and resentment, we watch her struggles and will her to succeed in finding her own inner strength and resources.