Tuesday, 4 February 2014


The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick
Published January 2, 2014 by UQP
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 paws

From the blurb: Written in verse, The Simple Gift is about a sixteen-year-old boy named Billy who escapes the violence of his father’s home for a life of no fixedaddress. In the town of Bendarat, he meets a homeless man, named Old Bill and Caitlin, a seventeen-year-old girl from a privileged background.Each carries their own personal baggage and find themselves united by their search for meaning in an increasingly soulless world. Over early mornings, long walks and cheap coffee they discover, no matter how big or small, it’s the simple gifts in life that really make a difference.

The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick involves three main characters: sixteen year old Billy Luckett who leaves his alcoholic father and ends up in the fictional town of Bendarat. Caitlin Holmes, a seventeen year old who can’t wait to escape to university, and Old Bill, homeless by choice and trying his best to forget the past.

These three characters sound so different but essentially they are all good people. Billy helps Old Bill to repay the kindness he’s been shown in the past. Caitlin looks past Billy’s homelessness and sees the boy he truly is, and Old Bill helps them both to make up for his past. I was completely caught up in their stories, each of them felt so real.

For such a short book, the story has such a strong message and that’s increased due to the format of verse - so few words yet they convey so much. A perfect book for teens and adults.

Thank you to the wonderful people at UQP for my review copy.

Purchase: A&R  /  Booktopia  /  Bookworld  /  Dymocks  /  Fishpond (intl shipping)



12 comments:

The Avid Reader said...

This one sounds interesting. I like how it brings three such different people together.

I also just have to tell you that I love your header, how cute!

Keertana said...

I haven't heard of this one but it seems like a really worthwhile read. Lovely review, Mands! :)

Karen said...

You always find books that I haven't heard of before and with the most awesome covers!

Sounds like another good one.

Natalie Natflixandbooks said...

This sounds very charming. I rarely read books written in verse, but I do like them occasionally. I'll have to see if I can find this one. I love the cover! Birds on a wire is one of my favorite images.

kate.o.d said...

Oh, SUCH a longtime favourite of mine. It came out when I was a teenager and I loved it so much (and so vocally) that my dad ended up using it in his yr 8 English class.

Steven Herrick is just brilliant - Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair surpasses the uniqueness of its name, and the companion novel A Place Like This is hearbreaking and heart-swelling.

I'm so glad that UQP has re-released this one.

kate.o.d said...

(I think the sex scene was controversial in Dad's year 8 English class, just FYI)

Alex (A Girl, Books, OtherThings) said...

It was all good until Verse format! I just don't like those.
LOL

Thanks for the review.

Born Bookish said...

I love verse novels! I've tried one of Steven Herrick's books before and didn't care for his writing but maybe I'll give him another try.

Lauren's Loquacious Lit said...

I remember reading The Spangled Drongo in Year 7 and despite my almost hatred for poetry I really enjoyed it because he made it so easy Also it was about a kid playing soccer and I was obsessed. I really liked his style of creating the story and I often recommend his books to students who have to study poetry and look as reluctant about it as I did.

Nomes said...

I really loved this book when I was a teenager. I thought it was pretty much perfect :) It's been a while since I have read it -- but I am liking the new cover a lot!

Nice review Mands, you say a lot in so few words. I need to perfect my reviewing like that!

DMS said...

I recently read a book in verse and would enjoy reading another one because the format was so powerful. This is my first time hearing of this one, so thanks for sharing it! Sounds powerful.
~Jess

Sue Bursztynski said...

Lovely book! And, interestingly, I taught it to Year 11 -the only English novel they didn't complain about that year - then it became the Year 10 novel, briefly, before they decided on another class text. Then I scrabbled together a few copies to be used in Year 7 and 8 Literature Circles and the kids who chose it absolutely LOVED it and had a great discussion about it. For their creative response, they interviewed the author, the interview is up on my blog The Great Raven for anyone interested, last November.

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