'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 11 August 2023

Review: The Unlikely Heroes Club

This interesting and engaging middle grade novel packs rather a large punch. Told in the voice of eleven-year old Oli, it’s a tale of difference, ideas and bravery. 

It’s school holidays and Oli wishes he could just stay home doing boring old familiar things, or go on a holiday with his family like some of the other kids in his class. 

Instead, he has to go to Heroes Club to learn how to read emotions and express himself appropriately and all the stuff that he finds really, really hard and confronting to do.

To cap it off, his sister is going to drama club and she won’t be around for him. This makes life hard for Oli because he’s used to her standing up for him, and speaking when he cannot – which is quite a lot.

On their way to the first session of Heroes Club, there’s a major disruption to the traffic just outside the building they will meet in, and it’s being caused by a small stray dog on the road. Oli looks into the dog’s eyes before it runs away, and feels a strong connection.

From here, Oli and his newfound friends form an unlikely alliance and as well as learning all sorts of things about himself and others, Oli finds that he is indeed an unlikely hero when it comes to caring about dogs in soon-to-be-demolished buildings!

Together, the children of the Heroes Club hatch a plan to rescue this dog that the adults don’t seem to care about, and even though he’s never lied to his mother before, Oli knows that this situation is something bigger than him, and one that he simply has to take action upon.

Author Kate Foster has done a truly wonderful job in presenting both the inner and outer monologues of Oli, and of representing the differences and sameness of all the other children in Heroes Club, too.

A story told with precision and detail - with a slug of mystery and a good dose of humour to boot - this novel will appeal to all middle grade readers. With a clear and authentic voice guiding us through the actions of the narrative, this book will bring extra clarity and understanding to those kids who are in any way wondering about what it’s like to live with autism.

A valuable classroom addition.

Highly recommended.

The Unlikely Heroes Club
Author: Kate Foster
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, $16.99
Publication Date: 5 July 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760655969
For ages: 8 +
Type: Middle Grade Fiction