Saturday 14 May 2016

Review Time! - Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan

Title: Swan Boy

Author: Nikki Sheehan

Genre: Kids, Contemporary, Magic Realism

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher, Rock the Boat, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I was offered an ARC of Swan Boy by the publishers (who are pretty nice people, all in all, but I'm not going to let that affect my review.)

It sounded interesting, so I decided to take them up on the offer.

uifhngionriondfkgnrnhtlg - I AM SO GLAD I AGREED TO READ AND REVIEW THIS BOOK!


Johnny's dealing with a lot right now: new house, new school, looking after little brother Mojo, and trying to get over the death of his father.
So what Johnny doesn't need is a bully to contend with.
He also doesn't need all this stuff with swans to deal with right now.
But... swans... there's something about them... more specifically, there's something about them and Johnny. Together.
Things are going to get interesting.

Best bits:


Where do I start? Where do I even start?

Basically, I loved this book. It is excellent. The characters were fantastic and the plot was interesting (as well as pretty bizarre in places - and I like me some bizarre-ness.)

Little Mojo, Johnny's brother, damn near broke my heart at various points.

Somehow, Sheehan perfectly shows us this hurt and confused little boy, in the heart-wrenching way of a 5-year-old who's lost his father.

The magical aspects are beautiful. The weaving into the story of the swans and the music and the dancing worked so well.

But the main strength of this book? The writing.

Sheehan's writing is beautiful. Worthy of comparison to The Book Thief (UK - US,) in its lyricality, its beauty, and the strength of its sparse prose.

If you read this blog a lot you may have noticed me mention sparse prose.

If you don't have a clue what I'm on about, let me explain: some writers are capable of using the words they don't say without over-burdening the words that they do.

Simple sentences that carry the world in the white spaces. That's what I mean by 'sparse prose.'

Not many people can carry it off: Markus Zusak does it, Joe Hill does it, and, weirdly, James Franco does it (although in verse not prose.)

Turns out, Nikki Sheehan can do it too.

Not so great bits:

Bad points about this book...


Well, there are some issues which could upset people: bullying, isolation, bereavement, and a dash of violence.

The swan poo bit on the first page kind of grossed me out.

Some people may disagree with the way Johnny deals with the bullying, I suppose.

Other than that? I honestly can't think of anything else. I actually wish that I could so that I could pad this section out a bit more...



(Really, what else is there to say? It was that good.)

It's probably appropriate for ages 11+


  1. The cover to this one is incredibly interesting and makes me want to try the book alone. I like the sound of this one tying in magic to the realistic storyline perfectly too. That doesn't happen too often and can be hard to meld. But sounds like the writing style does that for you.

    1. Basically, my opinion on this one is that I'm going to scream READ THE BOOK! at everyone until they give in and read it ;)

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this book! I love magic realism, do this looks like the book for me! I love how you said the best thing about this book was the beautiful writing, obviously, that's a big plus. I'll definitely check this out!


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