Stone Cold (Puffin Teenage Fiction) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Mar 1995
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Stone Cold, winner of the 1994 Carnegie Medal, serves as a sinister warning to any young runaway and not just because there is a killer on the loose. Narrated by 17-year-old Link, homeless and jobless in London after being driven out of home by a drunken, abusive stepfather, he vividly recounts the day-to-day experiences of a homeless person. Because he tells it like it is, his descriptions of sleeping rough shatter any romantic notions: "So you pick your spot. Wherever it is ... it's going to have a floor of stone, tile, concrete or brick. In other words it's going to be hard and cold. It might be a bit cramped, too--shop doorways often are. And remember, if it's winter you're going to be half-frozen before you even start."
If this was just another diatribe on the perils of sleeping rough, the reader's interest would soon wane but it is far more gripping than that. The author alternates Link's tale with that of an unknown serial killer preying on the homeless. You, the reader, see how closely their lives brush against each other and know it's only a matter of time before they clash. Will Link be joining the other recruits in the cellar--what a deterrent that would be! (Age 11 and over.) --Nicola Perry
About the Author
Robert Swindells was born in Bradford in 1939 and continues to live in Yorkshire. He left school at 15 and worked in a variety of jobs, including primary school teaching, before becoming a full-time writer. His widely acclaimed novels often reflect his political passions, such as BROTHER IN THE LAND, which is set in the aftermath of a nuclear war. He has won the Red House Children's Book Prize several times and in 1993 he won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for STONE COLD, a young adult novel about homelessness.
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Top Customer Reviews
The tale is told from two distinct first-person perspectives - two diaries read concurrently, the perspective shifting with each chapter
division. It works remarkably well, because the characters are far from ordinary people. The first is a homeless teenager, compelled to
leave home because of an abusive step-father, now living rough on the streets of London. The second is a serial killer, prowling the streets
of London on a mission to rid the city of "dossers," as he calls them. It's clear from the outset that the two are destined to cross paths, and
the suspense is maintained throughout the novel.
This is no fairy tale. It's a grim depiction of homelessness, and a sharp criticism of our apathy towards it. Swindells does not gloss over the
subject. He makes it clear that everything is not OK with the world, and we need to wake up.
This is a short novel, only a hundred pages. It is marketed as a children's book, and I admire Swindells for daring to open kids' eyes like
this instead of pulling the wool over them, like so many writers. And if you're an adult, I can only urge you not to skip this one because of
the packaging. This novel won't make you feel good, but it will change you.
Narrated on one side by Link, a young lad who has left home due to an unhappy life. He is homeless but doesn't know how to be. He meets Ginger in a doorway one night and he begins to show him the ropes. Our other narrator is called Shelter, a sadistic seriel-killer who is killing the homeless children one by one.
The kids are disappearing and no one cares. Then Link meets Gail and his life improves but still Link knows something sinister has happened to Ginger. This book was winner of the Carnegie Medial (although I don't know which year) and it is easy to see why. It is captivating and pacey with great realistic characters. One or two more chapters at the end would have helped to finish it off much more neatly but who really needs that, the children can make up their own minds about what happens.
A good introduction to homelessness for children and as an add-on as a teacher it provides a range of stimulus for discussion. Well worth a read and well worth considering for the classroom. Yes it's been taught a lot but so what, it's a great book!
Shelter an ex-army sergeant with some serious mental health issues, is paranoid about the government, police and any officials in general (he calls them ‘the powers that be’.) He thinks that ‘the powers that be’ are trying to bring the country down by flooding it with homeless people. He is a meticulous planner and he has some serious plans to clean up the streets of London.
In Stone cold the author ‘Robert Swindells’ uses an effective but hard to pull-off, parallel plot technique. He has two main characters that are living their separate, interesting lives. The plots can collide which makes the plots more interesting and exciting, when to characters, which you have known separately, can meet and interact .He also decides not to use a narrative element in telling the story and sticks to using a technique which seems like the two main characters are telling the story in the past tense in an interview/statement like manner.Read more ›
The opening section of the book descibing the failures and pressures that led Link to London are certainly the most powerful. His mum buying her homeless son a sleeping bag, especially poignant. Many classes have got a bit fidgety during Shelter's narrative. In this dual narrated novella, Shelter's army psychobabble and indirect way of saying things certainly interferes and interrupts our empathetic response to Link's plight.
Tension at the end? A little rushed maybe. Like this review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gail is Shelter and she kills everyone
Ginger is secretly link
Link is secretly Sappho and Shelter is a news reporter
Link dies at the end when he... Read more
An exciting story, great characterisation and an exploration of the issue of homelessness. Ideal for 13 to 15 year olds.Published 4 months ago by Vicki
A fantastic Puffin Teen Book from Puffin HQ and Robert Swidells yoh mus read/buy it suitable for teenagers from the age of 13 and over SO YOU MUST BUY IT IT'S THE BEST BOOK YOU... Read morePublished 4 months ago by A.Pepper
This really makes you think about the horrors of being homeless. I could not put it downPublished 9 months ago by S. Hansford
Great read, with an emotive theme, written in first person narrative. Looking forward to teaching this.Published 10 months ago by Shopper