Robert Nobel, the school pariah, triumphs over his own fears and the school bully, in this extraordinary tale of self-empowerment, legend and death.
Robert is a boy who can do anything – or so old Edith Sorrel at the nursing home tells him. Robert doesn’t think so, knowing as he does that he is the school geek.
But something compels him to do what Edith asks – to visit old Chance House, where a boy once fell to his death from the top floor flat, to confront his fears and find some answers.
Niker the bully thinks this is a great laugh. He challenges Robert to spend the night at Chance House with him – but there the balance of power changes, and it is Robert who proves to be the stronger.
Niker feels threatened by the change – and when he finds out Robert’s secret obsession, to make the dying Edith Sorrel a coat of feathers like in the old legend of the Firebird, he knows just how to wrest his old power back. But just how important is the coat of feathers? Could it really save Edith’s life?
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It is a rare writing debutant indeed that launches her first novel for children so conclusively and emphatically into the "must-read" books-of-the-year category. Feather Boy charts the first, truly character-defining sequence of events in Robert Nobel's short life so far. He is often the butt of classroom jokes and pranks--and being called Norbert No-bottle all the time isn't much fun either. He secretly wants to be somebody. To have a voice. To have friends.
Robert's participation in the Elders Project begins a sequence of events that change his life forever. Selected members of his class are chosen to visit the elderly residents of Mayfield Rest Home--to interact with them, to find out about their lives and to "counter ignorant attitudes about such senior members of society". Robert's main attacker, Jonathan Niker, may think them all "vegetables", but Robert's own buried true-life personality is slowly unearthed by Edith Sorrel--a prickly resident who singles him out as her boy to talk to.
Edith is considered quite mad, haunted by the unhappy memories of a past incident involving her old home, Chance House. Her son died there under tragic circumstances that Robert compulsively needs to find out about and examine. Yet Edith is a fascinating enigma. Clearly very ill, she confides all sorts about her life in Robert yet denies the existence of her doting husband at her bedside. As Edith's condition deteriorates and the Elders Project heads towards its conclusion, Robert is drawn deeper and deeper into her story. His visits to the derelict Chance House become more frequent, and one fateful trip to sleep there overnight as a dare with Niker heralds the first step on Robert's own journey to finding out about his real self.
Nicky Singer's Feather Boy is more than just a story about bullying. It's bigger than that. It's about finding your voice, shouting from the rooftops about something you believe in, refusing to back down, helping a friend and never giving up. It's enormously uplifting, accomplished and satisfying. (Age 10 and over) --John McLayReview:
“Inventive, original and full of surprises, it’s the sort of dazzling debut novel that most publishers would fall over themselves to snap up…”
“Feather Boy is the most intelligent book for youngsters I’ve read for a very long time. Every 12-year-old will see a bit of themself in Robert and won’t be able to put this book down until Feather Boy’s emotional, thought-provoking climax. Fabulous.”
“Feather Boy is more than just a story about Bullying. It’s bigger than that. It’s about finding your voice, shouting from the rooftops about something you believe in, refusing to back down, never giving up. It’s enormously uplifting.”
“Feather Boy is simply fabulous… an emotionally intense suspense novel of the highest order”
Michael Thorn, Achuka
“If you only read one book this year, choose FEATHER BOY, for its memorable portraits of youth and age, its taut plot and, above all, its emotional ring of truth.”
Jenny Morris, Lion & Unicorn bookshop
“This first children’s book is a winner.”
“A joy to read… A fascinating, emotional and captivating book that deserves wide recognition.”
Sheila Wood, Books for Students
“Something unique and special”
Tara Stephenson, Waterstone’s
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Book Description HarperCollins Children's Books, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007120265
Book Description HarperCollins Children's Books, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007120265