Marg recently enjoyed Barry Squires: Full Tilt by Heather Smith, a Young Adult novel that has been described as "Derry Girls meets Billy Elliot with an East coast twist." Here is here review:
When I started reading Barry Squires: Full Tilt I thought it would be a lighthearted, rollicking romp through the bingo halls and streets of St. John’s, Newfoundland, it was indeed that but so much more.
Meet Finbar (Barry) Squires, a twelve year old boy with sharp wit and a way with words. He has a reputation for being temperamental and causing mischief. Barry was born with a port-wine stain birthmark on his face and is mercilessly teased by his classmates. When he hears that the Full Tilt Irish Dancers, led by Father O’Flaherty, are holding auditions he figures he’s a shoe in, after all, he’s watched Riverdance twice! Unfortunately Barry is not quite as talented as he thinks he is but he is determined to become a superstar on the dance floor and will not quit until he does.
This book introduces a lively and memorable cast of characters including Uneven Stephen; a homeless ex-rocker, Nan Squires; Barry’s greatest fan, Saibal; his best friend and his adorable baby brother Gord as well as the eccentric residents of the One Step Closer to God nursing home.
Reading this book for me was like taking a trip “back home” with its East Coast charm, wit and its Newfoundland sayings such as “it’s a fine day on clothes” meaning it’s a good day to hang your laundry out to dry and “who knit ya?” which means who are your parents? It also allowed me to take a trip down memory lane with visits to infamous St. John’s landmarks such as Signal Hill, George Street and Ches’s Fish & Chips. There are even a few guest appearances by some well-known Newfoundland celebrities!
Tragedy rocks the family near the end of the book, suddenly Barry’s world is shattered and only the love and support of family and community help him heal.
With numerous laugh out loud moments and some really poignant ones, Barry Squires: Full Tilt is a book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.