The importance of words...

Ambrose Bukowski is allergic to peanuts. He also has an over-protective mother, a lack of dress sense, the ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and is subjected to bullying at school.

Sometimes a guy could feel lonlier surrounded by people than he could when he was alone.

When the bullies almost kill him by putting a peanut into his sandwich, Ambrose's mother decides on correspondence schooling. Lonely and bored, Ambrose starts spending more and more time with their landlords, Mr and Mrs Economopoulos and their recently-released-from-jail son, Cosmos.

With nothing in common, but an interest in Scrabble, they strike up an unlikely friendship when Ambrose convinces Cosmos to take him to a weekly Scrabble club. As their bizarre friendship develops, Ambrose has to tell his mother more and more lies and things spiral out of control.

This is one of those stories which you can't put down. Ambrose is great with words and plays a mean game of Scrabble, but has limited social skills. He is endearing and maddening in turns, but you are never in any doubt that you want things to go well for him. His longing for acceptance from others and some measure of freedom from his loving, but over-protective mother will resonate with many.

As well as empathy for Ambrose, you find yourself cheering on Cosmos and willing him to stay on the straight and narrow despite the temptations and frustrations he faces. The unlikely friendship between Cosmos and Ambrose reminds you that people should not be taken at face value and that second chances are essential for us all.

A brilliant book from the author of 'We Are All Made of Molecules'.

Word Nerd     by Susin Nielsen

Anderson Press   ISBN: 978-1783444601