My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s been a while since I read Cuckoo (I read it during YALC weekend!) but I’ve been way behind on my reviewing due to a job offer(!) and trying to pack up to move house…
Cuckoo is the story of Jake, an actor in Market Square, the country’s hottest soap. Except he’s pretty much been dropped, and his family are suffering from the lack of income. His dad’s angrier, and Jake’s autistic brother Adam can be difficult to deal with – and then Jake finds out none of the money he’s earned over the years has been saved. Soon, he finds himself homeless – hidden at first, couchsurfing on all his friend’s sofas, and then on the street.
The first thing I should probably mention is the format of this book – it’s fairly short, split into short chapters which are each the script of an individual video. The book is Jake telling his story through the medium of vlogging, and there are comments at the end of each chapter. It’s a really unique format, and after reading another scriptbook this month (Cursed Child), this actually does work – there are enough characters in each chapter, each with a unique voice, that it really is effortless to read.
As someone who has an autistic sibling, I thought the character of Adam was dealt with particularly well. I think it’s easy when writing autistic characters to slip into constant tropes, and I didn’t think this happened here.
If you’re looking for something truly unique (especially in format, which was particularly innovative), and a quick read for summer that tackles some difficult issues, look no further than Cuckoo by Keren David.