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Reviewed by Lucy Black, Librarian, Mt Cook School Wellington
Opening sentence
Gameplay on the pitch, lightening fast, dribble, fake, then make a dash.
The target audience for Booked appears to be football loving adolescent boys who want to be ‘cool’, don’t like reading and don’t know how to talk about their troubles.

The main character is sharp, bored and struggling with his parents separation, his crush and his social standing at school. I am none of these things and I have to say I didn’t relate very much to this frenetic graphic novel. I found this to be quietly sexist and I think this is an intentional reflection of the main character’s prejudices - he doesn’t respect his female teachers and peers very much. This is somewhat rectified as the story unfolds but I worry that less discerning readers might not pick up on this.

A lot of the story is told in clipped sentences and rapid fire dialogue, this might engage reluctant readers and those that like a slam poetry style. It’s obvious the author loves words and plays with them in clever ways. The casual writing style and bold cartoonish illustration might lead readers to think that Booked is light reading and purely funny, humour is present but Alexander deals with quite heavy topics and nuanced ideas.

Whilst this graphic novel wasn’t for me, I certainly recognise it’s place and I would recommend it for reluctant readers of intermediate and early high school age.

Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? Not as light-hearted as it may appear

Would this book work as a read aloud? No
Author & Illustrator: Author: Kwame Alexander Illustrator: Dawud Anyabwile
Publisher: Anderson Press
ISBN: 9781839132230
Format: Paperback
Publication: 2022
Ages: 10+
Themes: Coming of age, Parental Separation, School social life