If ever a press release has put you off, it must be this one. ‘The first book featuring the “misfits” – a multi-racial, mixed-sex group of regular children,’ it reads. Please. Why are girls and ethnic minorities misfits exactly? Shouldn’t that status be reserved for the short kid with glasses? Oh look, there’s one of them too.
The proof manuscript is little better. Boasting that it has been published in order to coincide with the 2014 World Cup doesn’t scream ‘must-read’, but rather ‘money-spinner’. Surely that’s the last thing you tell the reviewer?
After this inauspicious start, Charlie Merrick’s Misfits is a much more enjoyable read than anticipated. Here is the age-old tale of the underdog team, the North Star Galaxy under-12s, attempting to save themselves from relegation, and testing their friendships and themselves in the process. The story itself is diverting, while Dave Cousins’ own illustrations, comic strip-style additions, match reports, fun fact boxes and more, do actually add to the reading experience and feel like little extras to help the reader on their way. Recommended for reluctant readers.