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Roy Of The Rovers: Scouted (Fiction 1) Paperback – 4 Oct 2018
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It doesn't follow on from the old versions... but does contain believable storylines and believable characters.
Guaranteed to engage fluent and reluctant readers alike.
There are some interesting questions raised in the book, which I assume will be dealt with in future instalments, such as how does Mighty Mouse know who Roy's dad is? How will Roy's personal life develop? Why are Tynecaster the major local rivals - what has happened to Melboro? Does the "original" Roy still exist in Melchester history? (I assume not but if that is the case, how will he be written out, particularly given that his previous team-mates still exist?) I look forward to finding out the answer to these and other questions...
MINOR SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH - I was debating whether to give the full five stars because of a couple of errors. Firstly and most importantly, the main plot of the book relates to a cup competition played between local youth sides, including Roy's team. There is some confusion over when the final of the competition takes place - at one stage, it is mentioned as being on a Saturday, later it is said that it will be on a Sunday; but it is actually played on a day when Roy has been at college, so presumably a weekday. There are also a couple of other minor editorial errors. In the end I went with five stars because these issues are not authorial and don't detract from the story - it's just me being picky.
In the original comic, Rocky was Roy's son - she is now his sister. This allows for women's football to play a part in the story which is excellent - the women's game is making great and welcome strides in the real world and it's great to see this level of inclusivity in a children's book.
Overall, this is an excellent start to the new series for fans old or new - highly recommended.
I loved the references to characters steeped in Melchester's past, but this also felt really modern, and will definitely appeal to young footballers today.
The perfect set-up for what comes next...
No prior knowledge of the original is needed though. While some of the original characters put in an appearance there are plenty of new ones here too.
Roy of the Rovers and Tom Palmer are a match made in heaven. Scouted ingeniously captures all the excitement and drama of the original stories. Fierce local club rivalries, breath-taking on the pitch action, tough games, bitter defeat and disappointment keep the pages turning. The off the pitch action is every bit as involving. Roy is, first and foremost, a brilliant role model who never gives up, works hard, faces huge challenges but always puts his loyalty to his family first. This is a surprisingly emotional book and it’s the family story, as much as the football drama, that hooks the reader in. It’s also a book to make you think - about women in football, corruption, wealth, bullying and power.
Although billed as middle grade, Scouted is accessible in length and language, with striking artwork breaking up the text - perfect for encouraging struggling teenage readers as well as those younger who can read but don’t by choice.
The only fault - according to my reading reticent y8 book tester who devoured it overnight - is “It isn’t long enough. We NEED to know what happens next…” When a book can convert a reluctant reader into an enthusiastic one, excited about their next read, you know you’re onto a winner! Continuing the footballing action, and bridging the gap until the next book, with the Kick Off graphic novel is a stroke of genius and proof of the commitment and passion of the team behind this publishing phenomenon. If you’re buying Scouted for a school or class library, don’t just buy one copy. You’ll need lots - and parents and grandparents will want to share them too!