Author: Kim Slater
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Available: June 5th
Buy it: Pre-order here
Kieran has found a man dead in the Trent. As police investigate and question the local homeless community, Kieran sets out on his own investigation - writing to his hero, Martin Brunt of Sky News and jotting every detail down in his notebooks. As his findings have him looking closer and closer towards his own home life, Kieran uncovers a few secrets of his own.
I absolutely loved this book. A quick read, written in the familiar vein of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (and I feel the comparisons are inevitable here), Smart takes a loveable, naive character in the form of Kieran and sweeps the reader through a tightly woven landscape of characters, mystery and struggle.
The narrative deals with some very dark issues - namely domestic abuse, drugs, learning difficulties and homelessness. I felt these were all handled in a very honest and relevant way. We experience these things all through the eyes of Kieran, who has an innocence yet a "smartness" about him which I found really interesting, and it really pulled me through the pages as I wondered what he would come across next.
The writing style is very simple and easy to read, and has such a character to it that I really felt like I knew Kieran. One of my favourite things in Smart is the presence of Miss Crane, Kieran's teaching assistant. Her words echo throughout Kieran's thoughts, even when she isn't around. I liked how the author used the student/teacher relationship he built at school as one of the strongest and most influential he had, really reflecting his home life without laying it out word by word.
Smart is an absolute page turner with a loveable narrator and great characterisation. A quick read but one that will stay with you. I will be recommending Smart a lot, and can;t wait to see what's next from Kim Slater!