I received this book for free from Atom in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Cuckoo by Keren David
on August 4th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
He's a household name . . . without a home
Jake is an actor, a household name thanks to his role on the UK's most popular soap. But his character went upstairs to his bedroom six months ago and never came down again, and now Jake is facing an uncertain future. Add to that his dad's anger issues, the family's precarious finances and the demands of a severely autistic brother; Jake's home feels like a powder keg waiting to explode. It's easier to spend nights on friends' sofas and futons, but what happens when you feel like a cuckoo in every nest?
Cuckoo is a novel about the roles we play when we don't fit in anywhere, and finding unlikely solace when home is the least welcoming place of al
Review: Cuckoo drew me in from the concept and I had a strong feeling this would be a great read for me. Karen David tells the story of Jake, a teenage actor who used to be on a popular soap, until it got cancelled. Now he’s setting the story straight over events before the cancellation via a vlog.
I liked the format of the novel being told through vlog transcripts and comments. Keren David utilises a quite restrictive narrative device to great effect. Even in the comments there are small subplots and stories that really add to the book.
I devoured Cuckoo and didn’t want to put it down. Jake really came off the page and I felt for his problems. I hadn’t personally seen explored in YA before in this way but Karen David looks at teenage homelessness without judgement. On the surface, Jake is not a character one would consider at risk of homelessness, however this is an issue that can affect anybody. Cuckoo really highlights how easy it is to end up in such a scary situation and I read the book desperate for him to be resolve his issues.
David writes Jake so well and he’s a fascinating character. It’s clear Jake’s recollection and narration is not unbiased and friends helping him with the videos may come off more favourably than those not helping. Similarly, there are clear flaws and things Jake does that highlight his own bias. That said, Cuckoo utilises this and Jake’s unreliability with the comments providing some subtext for some characters.
Cuckoo is a compelling, important and innovatively told YA novel I highly recommend. Fans of contemporary YA should find a lot to enjoy in this book.