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Stone Cold (Puffin Teenage Fiction) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Mar 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 231 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 30 Mar 1995
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; New Ed edition (30 Mar. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140362517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140362510
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 10 Feb. 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every once in a while - not very often - you read a book that changes the way you think. And this is one of those.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Yet another excellent book by Robert Swindells. I was reading this book in preparation for teaching it to a group of pupils with social, emotional and behavioural problems. It should go down a treat. Short chapters help keep the pace and the dual narrative means you don't have to focus too long on one particular character.

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!
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By A Customer on 1 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover
After Problems with a step-dad at home, Link (a teenage boy) decides to leave home. He lives on the streets of his hometown Bradford while his sister (who lives nearby) supports him. After issues with his sister’s boyfriend he decides to head for London on the false dream of picking up casual work here and there and living in a cheap flat or bed-sit. When he arrives in London he find he had a very wrong vision of London. With only £50 pounds in his pocket and a very unrealistic chance of getting a job his prospects begin to look grim. His money soon runs out and he is forced on to the street. He finds a street-hardened friend called Ginger and they start to trudge through the cold and hard life on the street together. When Ginger and other homeless people go missing, he and his new friend Gail start to get suspicious.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stone Cold does not set out to shock. Children of 11-13, who the book is aimed at, will have seen far more gruesome and realistic depictions of homeless people on TV, You Tube or wherever than in this toned down book. But this book certainly works in the classroom. The swear words on the first few pages help. Kids are shocked to hear their teacher swearing as he reads the opening descriptions of Vince, Link's 'bastard' of a step father.

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.
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