Jake Benn, face to camera. He’s sitting on a dark wood floor, leaning against a bed.
He speaks. His voice is soft and nervous, yet still easy to listen to.
Published by Atom, 4th August 2016
260 pages in paperback.
Cover by TBC
Summary from Amazon:
Jake is an actor, a household name thanks to his role on the UK's most popular soap. But his character went upstairs to his bedroom six months ago and never came down again, and now Jake is facing an uncertain future. Add to that his dad's anger issues, the family's precarious finances and the demands of a severely autistic brother; Jake's home feels like a powder keg waiting to explode. It's easier to spend nights on friends' sofas and futons, but what happens when you feel like a cuckoo in every nest?
Cuckoo is a novel about the roles we play when we don't fit in anywhere, and finding unlikely solace when home is the least welcoming place of all.
Cuckoo is a wholly original contemporary YA novel written as an online video transcript. The story centres around Jake, a sixteen-year-old actor in a popular TV soap who’s just lost his job and discovered his parents have spent all his money. Under pressure to get another role, Jake struggles with his Dad’s anger issues and the demands of his autistic brother. After initially relying on friends for help, things get a whole lot worse when Jake finds himself homeless.
This is a fantastic and very unique concept. Various characters take it in turns to narrate the scenes and Jake and his friends often play each other, all of which adds a level of authenticity, as do the positive and negative comments posted at the end of each episode.
With only a few lines per instalment, the characters are surprisingly vivid, diverse and well-crafted, and the reader is easily drawn into Jake’s world and into the rather eye opening world of TV production and what it’s really like to be a child actor.
Tackling big subjects such as homelessness, autism, dementia and depression, as well as teen frustration with friends and family, Cuckoo is honest, credible and so fast paced you won’t want to put it down (I finished it in one read).
This is an innovative, moving, very clever and rather different book. I thoroughly recommend it.
Sarah Baker has worked extensively in film, with roles at Aardman Features and the Bermuda Film Festival, and as Story Editor at Celador Films. She has also been a writer and blogger for vintage fashion magazines. Sarah currently lives in London with her son. THROUGH THE MIRROR DOOR is her first book, a time-slip novel for 9+ that’s perfect for fans of Emma Carroll, Katherine Rundell and Robin Stevens.