The Incredible Record Smashers: Jenny Pearson has done it again. This book is full of laugh out loud moments, involving engaging characters you will be rooting for throughout the story but it also covers serious issues with sensitivity and subtlety.
Lucy, the main character is joined by her friend Sandesh as they attempt to get onto the TV show Record Smashers. Lucy only has one thing on her mind, and that is fixing her mum who has mental health issues. Lucy has an amazing plan to help her mum and it involves Paul Castellini, former pop star and judge of Record Smashers. Lucy and Sandesh go through many hilarious challenges in their bid to find a way to get onto the TV show. There are a host of other characters in the book who add to the adventure in their own way.
What I like about this book is that the characters are likeable and Jenny Pearson doesn’t shy away from the issues of mental health and how having a parent with mental health issues can affect a child. She does this with skilful writing as the story is full of laughs as well and comedy is the main driver of the story.
There are lots of similarities with Jenny’s excellent debut novel The incredible journey of Freddie Yates which also tackles serious issues with the same sensitivity and subtlety-in Freddie Yates it is grief that is explored, in Record Smashers, it is mental health but both books also tackle the idea of family and friendship and what it actually means. Record Smashers has a familiar style to Freddie Yates and initially, the plot development felt quite similar but there are some surprising plot twists in this story which were very entertaining and although both books are funny books covering serious issues, they are very much individual stories and both very rewarding reads.
As a teacher, I think this could be a valuable book for the classroom. I recognised some of the character traits that I saw in Lucy-I have seen them in children who are living with parents that have mental health issues and this book could be a way to show them that they are not alone and remind them that there are people surrounding them that can help and support them. On top of that, it is a very entertaining book, swaying from funny to poignant effortlessly at times.
Overall, I think this is an excellent book and can recommend it for aged nine and above.
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