Sofa Surfer by Malcolm Duffy
Published by: Zephyr Books
Released: 6th February 2020
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to Zephyr Books for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour.
15-year-old Tyler’s teenage angst turns to outright rebellion when his family leave London for a new life in Yorkshire. He’s angry with his parents about the upheaval and furious at losing his home. With only the dog to confide in, Tyler has no idea that a chance meeting with a skinny girl called Spider will lead him into a world he never even knew existed. Spider is sofa surfing and Tyler finds himself spinning a tangled web of lies in his efforts to help her escape her world of fear and insecurity.
Sofa Surfer shows how empathy and action can help those without a home to go to. As with his widely praised debut Me Mam. Me Dad. Me., Malcolm Duffy finds humour and heart even in dire situations. Relevant, warm and rewarding Sofa Surfer is about what happens when going home isn’t an option.
I am always looking for books that are thought inducing and that feature topics that I don’t know much about. Luckily for me I discovered Sofa Surfer. I obviously had knowledge of homelessness, but hidden homelessness was something that I’ll admit I hadn’t really thought about. So, it was no surprise that I was looking forward to discovering and learning something new through this book.
Sofa Surfer follows the story of 15 year old Tyler, who has just moved up north from London with his parents and younger sister. Angry about losing his London home, Tyler finds comfort in swimming at the local Lido, and that’s where he meets the mysterious Spider. Spider is sofa surfing and is soon dragging Tyler into a world that he didn’t even know existed. Tyler then finds himself spinning a web of lies to help Spider escape her life of hidden homelessness.
This was a real heart wrenching, eye opening read that had me captivated and in for the long run from the very first chapter. I was instantly engrossed in Tyler and Spider’s story and found myself rooting for them both almost immediately. The language within the book is so authentic to the location of the story that, I, felt on more than one occasion that I was there in the story with them.
The topic of homelessness, especially hidden homelessness is one that isn’t brought up much in YA and one that not many people think or know about. When Tyler first meets Spider she is sofa surfing and currently staying at her cousins house, and as the story progresses Spider’s situation turns dire, with Tyler doing all he can to help her. What really got to me throughout the book was how many of the secondary characters, especially Tyler’s parents reacted to Spider’s situation. I don’t think they did this deliberately, I just feel that they hadn’t been educated enough on homelessness, and this, in turn is what it’s like in real life. Not many people do know enough about it, and hopefully Sofa Surfer will bring this dire situation to life.
The relationship between Tyler and Spider was one that really did bring me pure joy. I really did enjoy seeing the friendship blossom and the general care they had for each other grow. I think they both brought each other hope and it, at times made me feel all emotional. I think Tyler needed someone like Spider and Spider needed someone like Tyler. What also stood out to me about their relationship was that it didn’t end up being romantic. It doesn’t always need to happen and this proved it.
Sofa Surfer was an emotional, empathetic read that really did open my eyes to a topic that is often ignored or brushed to one side.