- Title: Duncan Versus the Googleys
- Author: Kate Milner
- Genre: Children’s, Teenage & Educational
- Source: Edelweiss
- Publisher: Pushkin Children’s Books
- Publication Date: 06 February 2020
- Format: Kindle
- Number of Pages: 224 pages
Duncan Versus the Googleys by Kate Milner is a super read, full of good humour, fantastic feats, and friendship. These are children you wish you knew and were friends with. Deftly weaving social issues in a rip-roaring tale of heroic tweens and villainous seniors. Pleased to see the black and white illustrations at the beginning of chapters are also included in the Kindle edition.
Unceremoniously left by his parents at Arthritis Hall to stay with his Great Aunt Harriet, Duncan expects his summer holidays to be very dull. Instead, he finds himself at odds with a criminal group of octogenarians intent on worldwide thievery.
When he meets Ursula, the caretaker’s daughter who knows every hidden route and secret passageway in the building, things get even more dangerous, as the two get dragged into a creepy plot involving goggles, knitting house-breakers and some bizarre inventions. Duncan could never have imagined the summer holidays would turn out like this! Goodreads
What I liked
Duncan is your everyday boy living an easy middle-class life having the latest and best gadgets to keep him company. He has a slight blip in routine by being forced to stay with a barely known aunt whilst his parents are working abroad. Arthritis Hall is where Great Aunt Harriet resides along with Ursula a child who has the misfortune of living there too, at this old people’s home because her dad is the caretaker.
The expectation of staying with old people, in a care home is one of dull routine. But fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, Duncan is on arrival immediately swept up into a plot so out there, that it seems implausible then on quick reflection, imminently possible. So begins this madcap tale which will change lives along the way for all involved. There are real characters here with distinct personalities but to sum up most adults are mean, unlikable or ineffectual, whereas children are spoilt or resourceful.
What I really liked
The book whilst entertaining, concurrently discusses real issues: consumerism, surveillance culture and social media, though subtlety done and age appropriate. These topics are deftly handled, indeed tough topics such as parenting, bullying and poverty are explored in an accessible way for children. Nevertheless, it compliments rather than overpowers the main plot of honourable children versus dastardly seniors.
My thanks to Edelweiss and Pushkin Children’s Books for an advance review copy in exchange for a candid review.
4 stars – Really Liked It