sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #40: Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans
“Stuart Horten – ten years old but small for his age – moves to the dreary town of Beeton, far away from all his friends. But in Beeton begins the strangest adventure of Stuart’s life… He is swept up in a quest to find his great-uncle’s lost workshop – a workshop stuffed with trickery and magic. There are clues to follow and puzzles to solve, but what starts as fun ends up as danger, and Stuart begins to realise that he can’t finish the task by himself.”
This is a lovely and fun book that is written with charm and wit and heart. The story of the below-averagely height Stuart as he begrudgingly moves to a new town and ends up solving a family mystery full of puzzles and tricks, magic and mystery. I feel like this would make a great children’s TV show as Stuart races around Beeton, managing nosy triplet neighbours, quirky parents and a scheming enemy with a hapless magician sidekick. Despite all of this though, I found it difficult to consider it is a viable contender for the Carnegie prize just because its intended audience is so obviously much younger than the other shortlisted novels which are definitely aimed at the firmly young adult, older teens audiences. It is difficult to compare this to something harrowing like Between Shades of Grey or something lyrical and meandering like My Name is Mina. So, whilst I’m not sure it is a good novel for Carnegie, I do think it is superbly written and incredibly charming.
The full review is on my blog.
First Line: “Stuart Horten was small for his age – the smallest boy in his year at school – and both his parents were very tall, which meant that when he stood next to them he looked about the size of an ant.”
Why I read it: It is on the current Carnegie Prize shortlist.
Who I would recommend it to: Fans of Rebecca Stead or Frank Cottrell Boyce. If you like quirky stories full of heart.