Universe versa Alex WoodThis debut novel from Gavin Extence is being promoted as a cross-over Young Adult – Adult novel and deservedly so. Alex ,the 17 year old narrator weaves his tale from being the ten year old victim of a freak accident to the drugs bust that opens the book, we are instantly engaged with the story and the central characters.

We meet his mother, single mother, hippie, clairvoyant, we meet Ellie an odd-ball from school that befriends him and we meet Mr Peterson the reclusive, grumpy Vietnam vet and become involved in their lives as Alex navigates his life from being knocked into a two-week coma, as a ten year old, through the unlikeliest and enjoyable of stories. There is humour and heartbreak in this excellent first novel from Extence.

There is a touch of Mark Haddon about the book and it is none the worse for it.

Peter McKay