Smart by Kim Slater

‘I found Jean’s friend dead in the river. His name was Colin Kirk. He was a homeless man, but he still wanted to live.’

Kieron has discovered a body in the river. The body of a man Kieron thinks has been murdered, but the police won’t listen, why would they after all Colin was a homeless man, no one will miss him, no one will care.

Kieron cares, and he promises to find out what really happened.

Kieron lives with his mother and abusive stepfather and stepbrother. He’s an outcast at school, rejected by everyone except his teaching assistant. Bullied by his peers for being ‘different’.

While Slater doesn’t come right out and say it, she does give the reader clues that Kieron is different, the kids at school ask if he has Downs Syndrome, he has his own teaching assistant and he views the world and social situations very differently to most people, my guess is that Kieron is autistic.

As Kieron embarks on his quest to discover what happened to Colin, we learn more about Kieron’s world, that he loves to draw and is exceptional at it, citing Lowery as his favourite artist and putting his artistic skills to the test by sketching everything around him incase there’s a clue in there somewhere. I love the way he describes everything around him picking up on things other people wouldn’t describing things in such detail – and as an ex dragon boater myself I loved his description of the crew on the river.

We discover that Kieron has a grandmother that he misses and who stopped visiting because she didn’t agree with his stepdad hitting him and his mother.

Kieron’s world is very black and white.
And Slater has used this to highlight abuse, homelessness, and how not everyone views the world the same.
I loved taking this journey with Kieron as he befriended people from the homeless shelter to try to catch Colin’s Killer. I loved Jeans character and liked that Slater had written about homeless people in a good light, using Jean to show that everyone has a story and that sometimes people just need a little help, Slaters slick writing style discusses these issues without ever sounding didactic, leaving the reader reconsidering the way they look at the world.

I really enjoyed this book and will most definitely be recommending it to others…. Are you going to be Smart enough to read it ?? I hope so!

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