The tightly clenched fist holding crumpled banknotes on the cover is highly evocative and revealing about the book's contents. It says power and aggression. The knuckles are white and threatening. There is a raw, basic, illegal need in the image which accurately portrays what is to come—a fast-moving, well-told story that represents some of the best writing around today.
Money is close to every young person's heart—especially so when you have just started your first job. And when 10 percent of your earnings are spirited away, sometimes forcibly, by a shady local protection racket, it makes the pupils of Cottoncroft Comprehensive School want to fight back. Maisie Malin and some of her school mates are sick of "Push"—headed up by Charles Flitcroft and his cronies, young and old—so they try to set up "Pull" as an antidote. It's risky, of course, and there are bound to be setbacks along the way, but it seems that everybody's pain has to get worse before it stands any chance of getting better.
Swindells tackles his disturbing subjects with a distinctly contemporary prose. There is just enough description to enable the reader to visualise what's happening, and lots of dialogue to keep the plot moving. There are plenty of different characters as well, all playing a vital role in events as they unfold.
Robert Swindells is a heavyweight in the children's book world and he doesn't write nearly enough books like Dosh. He should stay in more. (Age 13 and over) —John McLay
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