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Patrice Lawrence
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198494935

Having moved to yet another house on another estate, with no friends except his pet rats Venom and Vulture, Al really wants to stay here, but that depends on his mum who is just out of prison, and a situation in a local shop involving their downstairs neighbour, Mr Brayker, soon puts her back there. As far as Al is concerned Mr Brayker is to blame and Al is determined he will take revenge on him no matter what his gran, sister or neighbours say. With two rats to aid his cunning plan, what can go wrong?

Rat is an excellent gritty and urban novel. Cleverly written by Patrice Lawrence, the story took me on an emotional roller coaster of a read! Following young Al as he tries to make sense of everything that is happening around him was really interesting and what came through the novel was the love that Al has for his mum which is why he seeks revenge on his neighbour for the shop incident.

While reading Rat, I felt I was getting an insight into a teenage mind dealing with situations I know nothing about and hope kids who read this get the same or perhaps relate to the situations Al is dealing with. His gran and sister are brilliant characters too both dealing with their own backgrounds, and the linking of some of the characters in the story was very clever! A very thought provoking read.

152 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Stephen Leitch, school librarian


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