Sunday, 4 November 2012

Review: Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill

Introducing Darcy Burdock, a new, cool, all-conquering girl character with a fresh and distinctive take on the world.

Ten-year-old Darcy is one of life's noticers. Curious, smart-as-a-whip, funny and fiercely loyal, she sees the extraordinary in the everyday and the wonder in the world around her.

Britain finally has an answer to Jeff Kinney and his Wimpy Kid! Many have tried, but few have come close in my opinion, but come next March the trials and tribulations of Greg Heffley will be consigned to bargain bins in book stores across the UK. There will only be one name on everyone's lips, and that is Darcy Burdock. (OK make that two names as Darcy's creator, Laura Dockrill, is certainly not someone who will be easily overlooked and/or forgotten).

Before I say any more about Darcy Burdock I feel I need to make a couple of things clear. This blog is called is The Book Zone (For Boys), but this does not mean that the books I review are only for boys. Far from it, and I know that there are many girls who read and comment on this blog. The point of this blog is to showcase books that boys should find interesting and fun to read, and many of these are just as suitable for girls. Darcy Burdock is possibly a book that some may be a little surprised to find reviewed here, but bear with me and I will let my love this this book be fully explained. Secondly, I very rarely post reviews so far ahead of publication date, but the lovely people at Red Fox are so excited about this book that they are happy for reviews to start appearing now.

I first heard about Darcy Burdock when I met the book's writer and illustrator, Laura Dockrill, at the Random House Bloggers' Brunch earlier this year. Laura read a few pages to us, and I was immediately hooked, even though I had initially thought it might not be a book that would sit well on my blog. I couldn't have been more wrong - just two pages from Laura and I knew I had to read this book when it was published. Thanks to the lovely people at Red Fox I haven't had to wait until February, as a proof copy landed on my door mat just a couple of weeks ago, and I pretty much dropped everything to read it.

Darcy Burdock is not written in diary format, but most of it is written in first person and Darcy's voice will have you crying tears of laughter within the first few pages. The best word I can come up with to describe the way Darcy tells her story is 'RANDOM' - as you read it you can't help but imagine the "ten but so nearly eleven" year old girl standing in front of you, talking at a thousand words a second, her mind making massive leaps from subject to subject. She twists words around and makes up her own (Angrosaurus Rex, mermalade, kneebows). And best of all, she notices everything, which means her descriptions of life and the people she encounters are to die for. I can't remember the last time I read a first person narrative where the character sounded so real from the very first page, and I guarantee that masses of children  and probably adults too, will fall head over heels for Darcy come next March.

There are parts of the book that aren't written in Darcy's voice, as she also includes some of her own stories. You see, Darcy desperately wants to be a writer, and when something affects her, be it making her angry or sad, she invariably turns to her coveted notebook and turns her thoughts into a story. And wonderfully, these add to the appeal of the book rather than distract the reader from Darcy's ramblings, as her writing voice is just as funny and endearing.

I'm going to be shouting about this book for some time as I really think that it has huge boy appeal - it is certainly NOT a girly book. I guess that the marketing for Darcy Burdock will be somewhat more girl oriented than boy friendly, but I really hope that this book finds its way into the hands of just as many boys as girls, as I reckon the 8+ age group will love it. It is also a fab read-by-parent-at-bedtime book as well, although I'm not sure anyone could read it out loud as well as the author, so let's hope that Laura's desire for it to be released as an audio book, read by her, is realised.

Darcy Burdock is scheduled to be published on 28th February 2013, and if you haven't heard of Laura Dockrill before now then expect her to become a household name sometime in the next year. I hear from the people at Random House that Laura will be appearing all over the place in 2013, and if she is doing an event in a town near you then make sure you get along to it as I know that you love every minute of it. In the meantime, you can follow Laura and Darcy on Twitter (@LauraDockrill and @DarcyBurdock). To find out more about Laura you can visit her website at


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