By Author / Illustrator

Luke Palmer


Personal Growth

Age range(s)



Firefly Press Ltd




Paperback / softback




A white supremacist group and its violent leader targets teenage Josh, who is struggling to cope with his father's recent death at the hands of terrorists. Will he find the strength to resist, or will his unlikely relationship with Dana give them both the escape that they so badly need? An unflinching and muscular exploration of grief, and what we plant in the spaces that loss leaves inside us, Grow is a tense and compelling novel of our current social landscape.



Studious Josh likes to fly under the radar - that way he avoids awkward questions about his father's death. Still coming to terms with his loss and the violent circumstances of his father's demise, he becomes an easy target for a white supremacist group that has infiltrated his school. Working with the knowledge that Josh's dad died in a terrorist bombing, the group slowly introduce Josh to their hate-fuelled dogma. Confused and adrift from his friends, Josh starts to believe the group may hold the key to dealing with and avenging his father's death. But a new friend at school and his prickling conscience soon lead Josh to believe that he must stop those in the group before they cause serious hurt. Aided by fellow outsider Dana, Josh makes an audacious bid to bring down the group and finally come to terms with his grief.

Grow is an unsettling and unflinching study of grief, extremism, and radicalisation. Josh is a heart-warming protagonist, always being steered by his conscience and inherent good nature even when under extreme pressure. As a reader you are genuinely rooting for him and hoping he will find a way through his troubles.

A lot of difficult topics are covered in Grow but the burgeoning romance between Dana and Josh provides a welcome balance to the gritty social commentary. A cautionary and compelling read that's sure to hook teenagers as well as shining a light on many contemporary issues.

376 pages / Reviewed by Clare Wilkins, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 14+


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