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Grass Paperback – 3 Aug 2009

8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747599114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599111
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


`A gutsy, uncompromising slice of teenage life' -- The Children's Bookseller

About the Author

Cathy MacPhail won the Kathleen Fidler Award with her novel Run Zan Run, the Scottish Arts Council Award with her second novel, Fighting Back, a Royal Mail award and the 2010 Explore Award for Roxy's Baby and the 2010 Stockport Award, the Royal Mail Award and the Grampian Book Award for Grass. Cathy MacPhail's work is enormously popular with young teenagers, her trademarks being pacy and topical storylines. Cathy lives in Greenock, Scotland.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jenny, Wondrous Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Grass is a quick read with a surprisingly mature theme. It covers murder, gangs and violence, and isn't what I expected from a book set in the UK. I know gang warfare is present everywhere, but it seems to be more prevalent in other countries. To think that this also goes on here in England is shocking, and not something I'd given much thought to before.

By accidentally witnessing a murder, Leo is tangled up in a life he doesn't want. He's bribed, blackmailed, and scared into doing things - and for what? So an adult won't end his life sixty years too early? It's an unpleasant scenario, but is one that instantly grips the reader, and leaves you wondering just how Leo will get out of this situation.

Leo's a typical teenage boy, and is an easy character to relate to. How many of us have seen things we shouldn't? It's just something that happens, though normally it doesn't lead to death threats and murders. Leo was my favourite character, and I thought the way he wanted to keep his fear to himself to protect his family was admirable. Armour, the gang leader, had the perfect mix of personalities: one minute he could be nice, the next he was manipulating Leo like it was nothing. He was a character I found hard to hate, and I think that's because of the glimpses into his family life.

Cathy MacPhail knows how to leave you questioning everything you know about right and wrong, and succeeded in presenting an ambiguous look at gangs and their motivation. I really liked her hard-hitting, gritty realism, as well as her knack for turning a simple concept into a much more complicated story of trust and bravery. I'll definitely be checking out more of her books!
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By littlepinkstars44 on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book follows the story of Leo who has a pretty ordinary life.
He lives at home with his parents and 5 year old brother, goes to school. and has a best friend who he likes to explore abandoned buildings with.
One day Leo witnesses a violent murder and his life is turned completely upside down.
Before he knows it he is working for one of the local gang leaders and going against everything he has ever been told about what is right and what is wrong.

I really loved this book, it is set in and around the Glasgow area so I found it pretty easy to imagine the scenery around Leo. Some of the language used in the book is also local slang, which made it that much more interesting to me as I have never read that in a book before!

The story itself is easy to follow and the reader can see how easy it actually is for a young boy to wind up in Leo's position, being sucked into the gang world!

I really loved the ending of this book, it was very cleverly thought out and I did not see that coming at all! I would recommend this book to everyone as it has a really good point to the story, and isn't too long to read. It can be read in one sitting.

I've even got my little brother reading this book at the moment, and her loves it! Even though he has never really been interested in reading before! I think it is because it's set here where we live and Leo is around the same age as my brother, it is something that could easily happen to him!
If your looking for a book for a boy to read, I would recommend this one!
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By Miss S on 29 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading 'Grass' with one of my pupils in the Pupil Referral Unit I teach in. It was quite an easy read with an exciting story line and lots of areas for discussion - exactly what you need for a group of streetwise teenagers!

Here is one of my pupil's reviews :

Name of book: Grass.

Author: Cathy Macphail.

Characters: Leo, Sean, David, The Bissett Boys, Veronica, Aiden, Sheridan, Armour, McCrae, Nelis.

Plot: Leo is an innocent young boy with a nice family and a good friend, Sean, which he likes to go exploring with. One night he witnesses a murder committed by a man called Armour whilst walking home from Sean's house. Armour knows that Leo has witnessed this so when he sees him he warns him that he needs to keep his mouth shut. Good things begin to happen to Leo and he thinks it's all because of Armour. Leo goes to his house to thank him and Armour then decides to ask Leo for a favour of going to meet Nelis, another gang leader, to ask him if he wants to make a deal. Leo doesn't know what this deal is but goes along with it. He then has to pass a few more messages between them and becomes quite involved with Armour and the whole situation. Leo finds out what Armours real plan is and doesn't like the idea so he takes matters into his own hands...

My Opinion: I liked the book. I thought it was written in a way that made it easy for the reader to really get to know the main character. I think other teenagers would like this book.

Rating out of 10: 8.5.
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Format: Paperback
I firmly am against this whole gang culture, and fortunely wasn't exposed to it during my childhood, and have only seen what the media have written and what's happened. After the Rhys Jones case, the whole nation was hit by a great tragedy. This book, Grass, by CAthy Macphail is absolutely brilliantly written, and really gets down to the nitty gritty!

Cathy has a very developed style in writing, and her talent is awe-inspiring. I love how her books are relevant in the 21st Century, and the way in which she describes the vents really wants to make the reader turn the pages drastically to find out what happend next.

A Great read, by an ever greater writer! One of my favourite books of all times, up there with the greats!

Well Done CAthy MAcphail for writing about a real issue, and one that everyone can relate with your magical words, and beautiful style of writing.

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