“Dads leave home all the time. It’s not that unusual, really. Leon’s dad walked out. So did Mo’s. But Archie’s? Well, that’s a different story - a story that Archie must keep secret at all cost.
“Archie knows he should accept Dad for who he is, so he hides his turmoil until he can stand it no longer. With nowhere else to turn, he finds himself at the railway track. The track has been calling to him, promising escape, release. The only problem is, it’s been calling to someone else too.”
Publishers Barrington Stoke, who produce age-appropriate stories for readers with dyslexia and visual stress, always manage to impress me. The Last Days was no exception. This short but punchy novel is truly moving.
Although there is a blurb on the library catalogue, there is not one on the book. I was immediately intrigued and it was so good to start reading a story without knowing what it was about.
It features a realistic portrayal of a broken, yet supportive family, which was such a good change from the ‘absent parents’ cliché of YA. At the beginning of the story, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to connect to the main character, but he was surprisingly understandable.
The Last Days of Archie Maxwell is a powerful and poignant contemporary that discusses important, hard-hitting issues including homophobia, mental illness and suicide. Annabel Pitcher is great at handling tough topics and I would also recommend her book My Sisters Lives on the Mantelpiece.