Carnaby – Reviews

The Times

Children’s Book of the Week

Reviewed by Amanda Craig

13th July 2013

Tense, funny and gripping, this is a book that, unlike Martin Amis’s Lionel Asbo, is both an eye-opener and a heart-wringer in its depiction of the underclass. Just one good adult can make all the difference, but how will our narrator ever learn to trust? Repeatedly despised and misunderstood by “respectable” adults, Sarah is less foul-mouthed than she would be in reality, but a strong, brave and true heroine. She makes Jacqueline Wilson’s look like Noddy.


The Sunday Times

Children’s Book of the Week

Reviewed by Nicolette Jones

7th July 2013

This is a gritty thriller about spirited 13-year-old Sarah Carnaby, who lives on a London council estate and routinely cleans up the mess left by her mother and her pregnant elder sister Jude. One day, clearing up around her “sleeping” mother, Sarah finds that she has been stabbed to death. Sarah is then required to give evidence against Jude’s boyfriend, the chief suspect for the murder. There are moments of comedy, as when Sarah suggests that her fellow pupils need to see the school councillor: “Some of them hand their homework in early. Don’t tell me that’s not a mental health issue.” But this turns out to be a much darker story than Sarah’s light, satirical tone at first suggests.


The Telegraph

Reviewed by Jake Kerridge

18th July 2013

This is the sort of subject matter that we desperately need our novelists to tackle, although for those who care more about whether a novel is good rather than whether it is necessary, I should add that it is ingenious, gripping and funny.

Carnaby is a fantastic, intense crime thriller with an unreliable narrator. It’s about more than murder: it’s about failing families, social class, drugs, sex abuse, failing interventions, fear, grief and loneliness. It’s an electric read and a fantastic YA debut. Highly recommended.

The end section itself I didn’t see coming and it was shockingly brilliant! That’s all I will say on that! I think Carnaby is a fantastic young adult crime book that will easily enthrall readers. It is written in a very nitty gritty way and is peppered with emotion and plenty of shockers. It’s most definitely not to be missed!