Richard and Judy summer bookclub read 2013, Amazon Rising star, and shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, this is a funny and touching story of an unlikely friendship and an improbable journey. Alex Woods knows that he hasn't had the most conventional start in life. He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won't endear him to the local bullies. He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen - he's got the scars to prove it. What he doesn't know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he'll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing. A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, Alex's story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears. And it might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you've ever read.
The chances of being struck by a chunk of space rock are so small as to be virtually incalculable. But it happens to teenager Alex Woods, which goes to explain the title of Gavin Extence?s debut novel (although only in part). A supremely unlikely event detonates a chain reaction in the 17-year-old?s life. We found this to be a marvellous story ? funny, warm, and full of pleasing tilts at convention. A treat and a half. To read Richard?s and Judy?s full reviews, post your own or share your thoughts with them and the author please visit the Official Richard and Judy Book Club website ? whsmith.co.uk/richardandjudy
Gavin Extence was born in 1982 and grew up in the interestingly named village of Swineshead, Lincolnshire. From the ages of 5-11, he enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia. He won only one game. Gavin is currently working on his second novel. When he is not writing, he enjoys cooking, amateur astronomy and going to Alton Towers.