I have to hold my hands up at this point and declare that l’m a huge fan of Ele Fountain’s work. Boy 87 is still one of the best ever children’s books I’ve read and her follow up novels Lost and Melt are also cracking reads. So any time a new book is released, I hope it hits the heights of the rest. Breathe easy everyone, as Fake more than reaches that level.
Well, if there was ever a book that feels like an extension of the recent events around the globe, this is it. Ele presents a world in which human interaction is restricted due to antibiotics failing. Minor ailments become deadly without effective antibiotics, so the world shifts online. Family units are the only other humans people ever encounter, until it is time to go to school at 14.
Jess is more than ready for going to school. Of course, leaving your family is hard, especially as her sister Chloe is suffering and unwell, yet this is the path that Jess must follow. Bright and determined, she knows she will thrive in her new environment…unless her secret is discovered.
Ele Fountain has an outstanding ability to build characters so that their flaws and virtues stand side by side to make the character compelling. She makes Jess a complex, real person who impacts on those around her and, at times, shifts between someone who wants to help others and someone willing to place others in harm’s way.
Now for the teacher bit. As with any cracking read, the fact that you can share it with a class means you are able show children just how great books are. If reading Fake leads them to Lost or Melt or Boy 87, then that is reward enough and a step in the direction of creating more readers in our schools. Another aspect I love about Fake is that the leads are all strong females in one form or another. Far too often, girls struggle to find female protagonists who are strong-willed and willing to take risks; in Fake, Jess and co stand proudly to represent in such a manner.
There is nothing fake about how amazing this book is!