Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Man Down

Will Parks needs to man up.

A man stands. A man fights. A man bleeds.

These are the first lessons you learn in a town where girls are objects, words are weak and fists do the talking.

Will's more at home in the classroom than the gym, and the most important woman in his life is his gran. So how can a boy who's always backed away from a fight become the hero who saves the day?

Because a disaster is coming. One that Will can prevent. But only if he learns the most important lesson of all: sometimes to step up, you have to man down.

Book source ~ Tour
James Goodhand
3 March 2022
YA | Thriller
391 Pages

My Rating ~ 4 bites

Will Parks is 6’5” and you’d think he’d be intimidating. He’s not. He hates violence, so he gets stepped on. A lot. He wishes, with all his might, that he could be different. But he just isn’t. Until one day, things change.

Something weird is going on in Will’s neck of the woods, but he has no idea what. Someone is following him, but he’s only vaguely aware. And by vaguely, I mean subconsciously. Will is a pushover. A wimp. No. A gigantic wimp. Yeesh. Talk about being a doormat. His older brother Danny is, in contrast, a ginormous tool. Gross. His family is completely dysfunctional. The only one he cares about, who cares back for him, is his Nain (grandma). But she’s got serious health issues and probably won’t be around much longer. That’s something Will tries not to think about. He also tries not to think about the girl he has a crush on because his brother Danny is banging her. Ugh. That’s really got to suck.

Anyway, there’s this person following him about, he’s got a crush on a new girl, and now he’s starting to act all out of character. What the hell is going on? What’s coming? What’s so urgent that it's a matter of life or death? And why Will? He’s proven himself to be no hero, so why is he chosen to change things? All excellent  questions that are answered in good time. They unroll slowly as I learn about Will and his life in Ebbswick-on-Sea. And it’s not an exciting life. In fact, it’s pretty dismal. But Will keeps plodding along. Eventually, he changes. Bit by bit until even he is surprised. And then…it all comes to a head.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book. It’s a run-of-the-mill coming of age story, but there’s something else to it. And the only way to find out is to keep reading. Will’s story swings back and forth between depressing to hopeful to bewildering and back all over again. At times I grew frustrated with the lack of progress on the mystery/paranormal front, but all-in-all it’s worth it for the ending alone. Wow. My mind is going 100 miles an hour now and I can’t stop thinking about it. What does it all mean? You’ll have to read it to find out.

James lives in Surrey with his wife and newborn son.

He took up writing three years ago. A mechanic by day, much of his work has been written at an oil stained workbench whilst ignoring a queue of broken cars in need of his attention.

James is also a keen musician, regularly gigging as a rhythm & blues pianist.

James' debut YA novel, Last Lesson, tackling teen mental illness and toxic masculinity, was published in spring 2020 by Penguin Random House Children's.


  1. Love your take on this one, Carol! (Previous comment deleted because I can’t type for shizzel today.)