Sunday, 8 September 2013

A Kiss, A Dare and a Boat Called Promise by Fiona Foden

Title: A Kiss, A Dare and a Boat Called Promise
Author: Fiona Foden
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 1st August 2013
Pages: 256
Genres: Children's/Young Adult/Romance/Family
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Lazy summer days hanging out with her best friend, dreaming of cute boys - life on the river is good.

Not every girl would like to live on a boat, but Josie loves their river boat, Promise.

But when her family has to give up Promise, Josie is forced to live on dry land, in a grotty flat in town. Then she meets the mysterious Leon, and accepts his dare to do something risky. Something brave. Something that might mean she can get Promise back.

Josie's about to discover that some dares might be worth taking...

When the Guardian offered this to me for review at the end of August, I was ecstatic and accepted straight away. I haven't heard anything about this book in the book blogging world, but Cathy Cassidy recommended it on Facebook and it's been on my mind ever since. When one of your favourite authors recommends something, you know you're going to love it! And now, I have a gorgeous book in my possession, and another favourite author to add to my list.

Josie is thirteen, and school has finished for the summer. Life is looking good, with lots of riverbank picnics and swims in the lake planned with her best friend Bella, who lives on the boat next door. But life isn't perfect and soon they are tricked out of their home by a boat-restoring conman, turfed out into a greasy flat over an hour and a half away in busily polluted London.

I found it difficult to relate to Josie and I'm not sure why. It can't have been because of the age gap, because it's really not that big! I think it's because I don't remember Josie's looks being described. They probably were, but when I read the book I didn't really have a mental image of her. That didn't matter too much to me though, as she is a really likeable character; smart with sweet intentions!

Leon was a great addition to the story. He wasn't like your stereotypical London boy - he was kind and he really cared about Josie and getting her boat back. I felt sorry for him because it was made clear that his parents didn't care about him, but that sub-plot didn't really go anywhere, unfortunately. It just faded into the background as the main plot got more prominent. Because of that, I have a few questions that have been left unanswered!

To conclude, I enjoyed this as a light-hearted fluffy book but I didn't feel myself get fully immersed into the story. Maybe it's because I'd just finished reading a pretty heavy Stephen King book, or maybe I've grown out of that particular genre. Who knows? I do recommend this book to girls 9+. On the back it says 'Teen' but it seemed to be aimed at a much younger demographic than that. 3.5/5!


  1. Great review, Amber! I know what you mean about books that should really be aimed at a younger demographic, but it's always worth giving them a chance - if I hadn't, I never would've discovered Luisa Plaja!

  2. She is! I always thought her books were for 11-13 range so I stayed away from them, but once I started reading Split by a Kiss I realized exactly what I'd been missing!