The Gifted, the Talented and Me is the latest YA book by William Sutcliffe to find its way onto the bookshelves this May. Published by Bloomsbury, this will be William's third YA novel and it is very different from his previous books. When I received this book for review, I scanned the synopsis and thought this is not my cup of tea. One of the lines on the press release was "you think Adrian Mole had problems?" I knew at this point that I'd got problems as this was not a book I thought I was going to remotely enjoy. So, you can see that my expectations were set really quite low.
I started to read this book but then, to be honest, the preface left me slightly intrigued. Dad got rich and his mum moved the family to London. Sam, the main character, then takes us on a teenage journey of mixed emotions that actually feel like you are reading an actual account from a real person. The author has really skillfully achieved this in his writing.
Sam and his brothers find themselves moving to a new school, but not any ordinary school. It's the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented. At this point, the idea slowly reeled me in like a little worm looking for some fantasy gold. I actually started to find the story interesting and before I knew it, with a grumpy teenage strop here and an Instagram update there, I found this book to be really brilliant.
I felt like I was sitting on a fantasy fence watching how some families when elevated with wealth, change their lives and their outlook on the world. The Mum in the family suddenly embraces the arts and is laughed at. I also like the blogger side of Mum in the plot - a very neat touch and, for me, particularly relatable to. Dad is aloof but brings a sense of realism to some of the situations, alongside his many rounds of golf. This book really explores the lives of the three siblings adapting to their new school life. It's brilliantly warm and very comical. It will make you laugh and possibly choke on your tears at the same time.
The story is essentially about adapting and finding your own place; playing the LIFE game and dealing with emotions. It has a great message for the reader about staying true to yourself. This, for me, was five-star entertainment from a book that I thought I was going to struggle with. HOW wrong was I? I loved it. A delight and an absolute joy to read from the very first page. It will keep you on your toes with crazy capers until the very last page has been turned and only then will you be able to breathe easily again!
Synopsis: Laugh-out-loud funny and instantly recognisable - not since The Inbetweeners has a coming of age story been so irreverent and relatable.
Fifteen-year-old Sam is not a famous vlogger, he's never gone viral, and he doesn't want to be the Next Big Thing. In fact, he's ordinary and proud of it.
None of which was a problem until Dad got rich and Mum made the whole family move to London. Now Sam's off to the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented, where everyone's busy planning Hollywood domination or starting alt-metal psychedelica crossover bands. Sam knows he'll never belong, even if he wanted to. And that's before he ends up on stage wearing nothing but a fur onesie ...
A brilliantly funny look at fitting in, falling out and staying true to your own averageness.