I’m a huge fan of funny books, for me I just can’t get enough to satisfy my need for laughter. I actively seek books that are genuinely hilarious, that make me laugh out loud and inwardly cringe. Thankfully ‘Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink’ delivers both of these in equal measures. Meet Alex Sparrow a super-agent in training, who has been on a mission since he was 4 years old to be an undercover, super spy by undertaking an extreme regime of mental and physical activities. Well that may just be a slight stretch of the truth! Okay it is in fact a ginormous lie! I’m not sure doing a hundred star jumps a day and chasing the mangy cat from next door out of your back garden quite fits that description but nevertheless Alex is adamant that he has what it takes to be a real life super agent. Unwittingly Alex’s conviction is tested when he acquires a unexpected and very smelly superpower which he must use to get to the bottom of some very unusual happenings at his school. Together with Jess – who can communicate with animals – they must find out why their friends – and enemies – are all changing into polite and well behaved pupils. And work out exactly who is behind it all.
Stuffed full of humour, mystery and the unexpected, this hilarious adventure is a laugh out loud extravaganza of a read. Alex and Jess make a formidable duo, who despite finding each other less than endearing are forced into an unlikely partnership to save their school from impending doom. For me it is the subtle humour scattered throughout the book that is a real triumph, making me chuckle the most. I love how Alex is so caught up in his secret-agent persona he likes to narrate the action unfolding – in his best secret-agent voice – even if this means he might blow their cover. Jess (or Jessticles as Alex likes to call her) is an absolute gem of a character. Moody, fierce and downright fearsome she refuses to be Alex’s sidekick, she won’t take any nonsense from Alex and their relentless bickering is a total joy.
Underlying this cracking plot we have a story that celebrates the importance of being unique and different, highlighting how disturbing it would be to live in a world (or in this case a school) full of children conforming and being the same. Alex learns the hard way how so called ‘friends’ can let you down in your time of need and that friendship can be found in the most surprising of places. Packed to the gunnels with brilliant, comic moments – my favourite involves Bob, Alex’s rather remarkable goldfish and a can of energy drink. – ‘Alex Sparrow’ is an irresistible combination of humour and heart. A truly impressive debut, Jennifer Killick is definitely one to watch out for.
Jennifer Killick has always wanted to be a writer, but really started when she applied for a Creative Writing MA at Brunel University, which is where she first got the idea for ‘The Really Big Stink’. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can. Jennifer’s favourite things are books, trees and fluffy slippers, and her favourite place in the world is her home, where she can sit in her pyjamas with tea and cake, coming up with story ideas.
You can find out more about Jennifer by visiting her website or follow her on Twitter @JenniferKillick
Thank you to Firefly Press for sending me a copy of this hilarious book.