King of Nothing: A hilarious and heartwarming teen comedy!

King of Nothing: A hilarious and heartwarming teen comedy!

By Author / Illustrator

Nathanael Lessore


Funny Stories

Age range(s)



Hot Key Books




Paperback / softback




From the Yoto Carnegie Medal shortlisted author of Steady For This comes a hilarious and heartwarming new teen comedy!  Anton and his friends are the kings of Year 9. They're used to ruling the school and Anton wears the crown. The other kids run away when he's about but that's the way he wants it - he's got a reputation to live up to after all.

So when he gets into serious trouble at school, he doesn't really care, but his mum most definitely does. She decides it's time for Anton to make some new friends and join the Happy Campers, a local activity group. Anton would quite literally rather do anything else, especially when he finds out Matthew, the biggest loser in school, is also a member.  

But after Matthew unexpectedly saves Anton's life, Anton figures maybe this kid is worth a shot. Teaching him some game is the least Anton can do to repay the debt.  As the boys strike up an unlikely friendship, Anton finds himself questioning everything he thought was important. Does he want ruling the school to be his crowning glory or should he set his sights on better things?

Perfect for teen readers of Alex Wheatle, Jason Reynolds and Patrice Lawrence.


Clair - Age 11

This is a heart-warming, humorous coming-of-age story written by the Yoto Carnegie Medal-shortlisted author of Steady for This. Anton and his gang of friends strike fear into the hearts of the younger students. Anton's reputation as 'King of year 9' is bolstered by the fact that his Dad is in prison. Other kids give their gang a wide berth because they don't just give the kids a hard time but they try to intimidate the teachers as well! So, when Anton gets yet another detention, he doesn't really care but his mum most certainly does. She insists he helps out with the project that she is involved in at work and so Anton is forced to join the Happy Campers renovating the new women's shelter. To add insult to injury, his mum then sends him on a team building holiday with the group. Anton's not keen but he will do anything to get his internet access back…

I really enjoyed this book. King of Nothing covers the topic of toxic masculinity well. It is lovely to see the growth of the main character, Anton, as he becomes better friends with Matthew after he unexpectedly saves his life on the Happy Campers' trip. Matthew is a much more genuine friend and is the only one who doesn't pick on Anton when his dad got sent to prison. 

There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in this book. I loved Anton's close relationship with his grandma who moved in to help out when his mum was left to raise him as a single parent. Matthew is a fabulous character although a bit too patient with Anton at times, but I loved his positive outlook on life. He has a way of taking even the insults that come his way positively!

This book is perfect for teens as it is both witty and real. It covers some tough dilemmas in a really engaging way. Content of note : Father in prison, Bereavement, Bullying.

320 pages / Reviewed by Clair, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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