# Novel《BRAN-NEW ! + Murder Mystery-Detective Story Fiction For Young Reader》Kim Slater - SMART : A Mysterious Crime, a Different Detective
★★ Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, ★★ Shortlisted For the Federation of Children's Book Groups Prize ★★ Longlisted for the 2015 Carnegie Medal Kim Slater's outstanding debut, Smart, is moving and compelling novel with a loveable character at its heart. 'I found Jean's friend dead in the river. His name was Colin Kirk. He was a homeless man, but he still wanted to live.' There's been a murder, but the police don't care. It was only a homeless old man after all. Kieran cares. He's made a promise, and when you say something out loud, that means you're going to do it, for real. He's going to find out what really happened. To Colin. And to his grandma, who just stopped coming round one day. It's a good job Kieran's a master of observation, and knows all the detective tricks of the trade. But being a detective is difficult when you're Kieran Woods. When you're amazing at drawing but terrible at fitting in. And when there are dangerous secrets everywhere, not just outside, but under your own roof. Smart tells the story of a boy, Kieran, who is an outcast – someone who isn’t with the ‘in’ crowd and prefers to spend his time drawing and hanging out by the canal with his two homeless friends Jean and Colin. When Colin is found dead in the canal, the police are quick to close the case – convinced it was a drunken accident and Colin accidently fell into the water. But Kieran isn’t sure – he thinks it was murder. Can a young boy whose skills lie in observation and drawing really help to solve a police investigation? It's a quite moving story. Seeing through Kieran's eyes, his home life is upsetting. He quite innocently describes his mother working two jobs and giving the money to Tony, the shady visitors and money, the dog locked in the shed on wobbly legs... And without him explaining, we work out a lot about him for ourselves when we works with Mrs Crane on social skills at school, and wonders why he doesn't see his grandma anymore. He's not a pushover though. This is a boy determined to find out what happened to Colin. This drives the plot, and Kieran shows just how smart a young person can be as he tries to solve the mystery, uncovering other secrets along the way. It is never clearly stated whether Kieran has autism or is on the autistic spectrum but from his behaviour and the way he narrates this novel, we can deduce that he probably has some kind of autistic nature. Kieran is the narrator of this book and because of his age, we are able to see events through such simplistic and innocent eyes and so when Kieran discusses behaviour of family or those around him, we can, with our own knowledge, infer that they are drug dealers or domestic abuse is happening without it needed to be explicitly detailed. Kieran was a brilliant protagonist and whilst the narration was simple, it was also very endearing and I felt a need to step into the pages and protect him from everything going on around him. The pacing of this book was fabulous and the plot wasn’t immediately predictable which is brilliant for a children’s book! Smart isn’t overly long. It’s only about 250 pages so it’s not taxing in the slightest and can be read in one sitting. Kieran is adorable - resourceful, brave and smart. I liked his voice, and his story. The solution to the mystery comes all of a sudden but it's the other plots coming together that works well, and I hope this leads young readers to appreciate that everyone has their strengths as well as problems and deserves to be taken seriously. An interesting novel that is a must read for fans of The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-time About the Author Kim Slater honed her storytelling skills as a child, writing macabre tales specially designed to scare her younger brother. Taking her literary inspiration from everyday life, Kim's debut novel, Smart, has won four regional prizes and been shortlisted for more than 20 regional and national awards, including the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the Federation of Children's Book Groups Prize. Smart was also longlisted for the 2015 Carnegie Medal.
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