Tough Luck is a childrens' story with a grown-up message - that understanding and friendship are better than prejudice and hate. But the message grows naturally from the story; there's no preaching but rather an entertaining tale that's well-written and sometimes funny, sometimes moving. Set in modern Bristol, Tough Luck is about a black teenager, Brandon, who thinks he's dogged by misfortune and has to battle constantly against petty local racism. At the same time, it's also about the city's slave-trading past. When Brandon embarks upon a school history project he encounters the character of Jake, who suffered as a slave back in the 18th century when Bristol was a major slaving port. Past and present collide; Brandon is supported by his white girlfriend Helen just as Jake was helped by a wise old Bristol merchant. And both learn that self-help is best of all. With courage it's possible to make your own luck.
Because of the historical dimension, there's plenty in this novel to hold the reader's interest. The style is lively and upbeat and the dialogue is realistic. I imagine teachers will be pleased to have another cracking good read to recommend to their pupils!