‘I was militant and lonely
When my innocence was battered.’
Terror Kid is the latest novel from the wonderfully eloquent Benjamin Zephaniah.
This is a novel which delves into a number of heavy weight themes – terrorism, computer hacking, justice, innocence and what it means to do the right thing.
Zephaniah has cleverly intertwined a number of issues that young readers will have picked up on through the media, making it a very engaging read.
Set in Birmingham, the novel centres around Rico. Rico, of Romany descent, is a quiet 15 year old with a talent for computers. His weekend job has led to a nice side line in computer repairs. Unfortunately Rico has also been stopped and searched enough times by the police to know that he needs to keep his head down, and out of trouble.
From the outset Zephaniah establishes Rico as a character who has a keen eye for social justice. Rico is passionate about justice, passionate about doing the right thing …
It’s this passion which leads to an encounter with Speech, leading Rico unwittingly down a life changing path. Rico’s innocence and desire to help is taken advantage of, with tragic consequences. Here the plot is all encompassing as Rico must fight for justice, whilst acknowledging his mistakes.
Terror Kid is a short novel, less than 200 pages, which really comes in to it’s own during the second half. Written, at times, in a straight forward manner this novel is perfect for bringing great content and plot to reluctant readers, including those with dyslexia.
Terror Kid is a just perfect for provoking and encourage discussion on a range of important topical issues – what makes a terrorist? Can we always trust media portrayals? Written in a manner which makes it accessible to range of reading levels, this would work brilliantly in a classroom. Teachers are going to love this novel!