The Harder They Fall

This funny and thought-provoking book is the latest offering from Barrington Stoke’s super-readable teen series. It is a great book for all readers. It focuses on friendship and family. It also looks at the all too common problems of poverty and bullying through the eyes of the geeky and highly likeable protagonist Cal, who volunteers at his local food bank, where Jacob, a troubled new student at Cal’s school, gets help. While Cal respects Jacob’s shameful secret, Jacob himself is defensive and angry.

The narrative is fast-paced and exciting, the dialogue is humorous, and there is no hanging around waiting for the action to start. Cal and Jacob are typically awkward teens struggling with various social situations. They are both the target of school bullies, but perhaps their unlikely friendship—and the sensible and witty involvement of Freya—can help them through.

This is an enjoyable and easy read with a strong storyline and great characterisation.