09 February 2017

ARC Review: A Seven-Letter Word, Kim Slater

A Seven-Letter Word

Title: A Seven-Letter Word
Author: Kim Slater
Published: 24/03/2016, Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 305
Source: Netgalley
Format: Ebook

Rating: 3.5/5

" 'My name is Finlay McIntosh. I can see OK, can hear perfectly fine and I can write really, really well. But the thing is, I can't speak. I'm a st-st-st-stutterer. Hilarious, isn't it? It's like the word is there in my mouth, fully formed and then, just as it's ready to leave my lips . . . POP! It jumps and ricochets and bounces around my gob. Except it isn't funny at all, because there's not a thing I can do about it.'

Finlay's mother vanished two years ago. And ever since then his stutter has become almost unbearable. Bullied at school and ignored by his father, the only way to get out the words which are bouncing around in his head is by writing long letters to his ma which he knows she will never read, and by playing Scrabble online. But when Finlay is befriended by an online Scrabble player called Alex, everything changes. Could it be his mother secretly trying to contact him? Or is there something more sinister going on?

A Seven-Letter Word is an evocative and heartfelt story from the multi-award-winning author of Smart, Kim Slater."

A Seven-Letter Word is a fun and quick read about a 14-year-old buy suffering from a stutter so the story is also quite sad at times. I did find the idea of the story pretty original, especially the way the story revolved around the board game, Scrabble. There is a different rule, tip or fact about Scrabble at the beginning of each chapter so it was actually quite interesting. The story also highlights certain words and the points they would gain a player in Scrabble.

I really liked the main character, Finlay. He's just really sweet and does have a hard-time of it (especially with bullies). It was amazing to see how much his character develops throughout the story. To begin with, he barely speaks (even to his dad), but as the story progresses he slowly gains the confidence to speak out more. However, I did think he was a bit naive, but he is 14 so I'm going to let that slide.

I also liked Maryam. She's definitely the person that gives Finlay the confidence to start speaking again. She even helps Finlay with techniques to help his stammer. They really do become great friends. I think Maryam is just a genuinely lovely person.

A Seven-Letter Word is told from Finlay's perspective. This was fantastic as showing how he fights with himself to get words out. It makes you realise just how much of a struggle living with a stammer is. I didn't find Finlay's story predictable at all either. I was completely wrong with who I thought Alex really was. It came as quite a surprise to me.

The short chapters that make up A Seven-Letter Word made the story progress at a nice, quick pace. I read it so quickly. The plot doesn't lag either. It has a nice pace that is maintained steadily throughout.

I also thought the ending was lovely. Most of the plot points are tied up nicely and it appears that Finlay will receive the answers he has been needing over the past two years.

I enjoyed A Seven-Letter Word. It's a very different book, in my opinion. It highlights a speech disorder that I haven't seen highlighted in a book before. As the characters are quite young and the story is an easy read, I think I'd recommend A Seven-Letter Word to younger teenagers. Though I think many others would enjoy the story too.

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  1. Sounds like a nice book. I don't think I've ever read a book about someone with a speech impediment so it's nice to see that they're out there.

    1. Thanks. It was definitely a nice insight into their struggles and it definitely opened my mind a bit more. Plus I just loved the Scrabble references.


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