A Boy Called Hope ISBN: 9781409570318
Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2014
When Dan Hope's father left his family for 'Busty Babs', Dan thought he was coping okay until some four years later, when Dan, now 11, turned on the TV one day to see that his father had become a television news reader. This triggers strong feelings in Dan who has not seen his dad since the split. He is convinced that all he has to do is get back in touch and all will be well in the family again. This does not take into consideration that his mother is now happily involved with Big Dave and that his older sister Ninja Grace (Ninja because she has become a 'word ninja', who 'uses words as a weapon') now really hates their father because of his defection. She has good reason. He has had nothing to do with his first family since walking out - not so much as a birthday card - and when Dan tries to contact him by email, his efforts are ignored. But Dan is a tryer, and he doesn't give up easily. With friends Jo and Christopher he comes up with wackier and wackier ideas until he finally realises himself that nothing is going to work. Dad doesn't want to have anything to do with him, and he must accept that. When his father dies after a short illness, Dan must come to terms with that too, and in the end he knows that Big Dave has become a father figure and that life will be better once he has accepted the inevitable. Dan is a strong character, and the people around him are supportive even though they sometimes find his intensity about his relationship with his father hard to understand. There is a lot of humour in the book, and Dan himself is full of fun, presumably partly to hide his sadness. There are little black and white illustrations throughout the novel, done by the author herself, and the generally upbeat nature of the writing will appeal to young readers.