Sunday, 9 February 2020

Blog Tour: Sofa Surfer by Malcolm Duffy

Tyler finds himself struggling to find the right thing to do when he meets Spider, a young girl with nowhere to go.

Tyler's parents have moved their family to a small town in the north of England. Tyler isn't taking it well; he misses his friends, his school and the busy, bustling London he's used to. The only thing he enjoys is swimming at the lido (I had to look this up, but it's just the British English term for a public, open air swimming pool.) While swimming one day he meets a girl called Spider, a Geordie with tattoos and a spiky attitude. Tyler finds himself dragged into her world, a far more terrifying place than he ever imagined...

I know, I've made it sound like an urban fantasy. Spider's probably fighting demons or ghosts, right? Wrong. Spider is a young homeless girl, temporarily sleeping on her cousin's couch, but thrown out over a misunderstanding. Although Tyler has no real grasp of what it's like to be homeless, he does his best to help her out, with food and supplies, with somewhere to stay when he can manage it.

There's an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures I kept thinking of while reading this. In it, one of the characters finds himself on the streets in the space of about half an hour. He and another homeless character discuss how easy it is, how things can just vanish from under you without warning. It even happens to Tyler in this novel, and all he's done is get the bus times wrong.

This is the kind of story that stays with you for a long long time. I'm looking forward to getting to share it with people.

'A story with great heart, and wisdom, which shows the healing power of true friendship' Ele Fountain, author of Boy 87.

Written with humour and heart, Sofa Surfer looks at what it means to be homeless.

15-year-old Tyler's teenage angst turns to outright rebellion when his family leave London for a new life in Yorkshire. He's angry with his parents about the upheaval and furious at losing his home. With only the dog to confide in, Tyler has no idea that a chance meeting with a skinny girl called Spider will lead him into a world he never even knew existed. Spider is sofa surfing and Tyler finds himself spinning a tangled web of lies in his efforts to help her escape her world of fear and insecurity.

Sofa Surfer shows how empathy and action can help those without a home to go to. As with his widely praised debut Me Mam. Me Dad. Me., Malcolm Duffy finds humour and heart even in dire situations. Relevant, warm and rewarding Sofa Surfer is about what happens when going home isn't an option.

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