Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd

Title: The Pavee and the Buffer Girl
Author: Siobhan Dowd
Published by: The Bucket List
Publication date: 2nd March 2017
Pages: 112
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

When Jim's family halt at Dundray, the town is an unfriendly place. Bullying, name-calling, and a new school to navigate without a word of reading.

Then Jim meets Kit, who takes him under her wing and shows him how to survive. But everyday prejudice and mindless violence threaten to uproot all their lives.

When this book was given to me by the lovely Nina at Sophia Bennett's book launch in March, I was so happy. I talk about it a bit in this video, but basically: this book, along with Non Pratt's Unboxed, was pretty much all anyone could talk about at last year's YALC. The illustrations are gorgeous, the story is important, and of course author Siobhan Dowd established the Siobhan Dowd Trust, which works tirelessly to get the love of reading to young people who need it. Honestly, if you're not at least intrigued by it from that paragraph, I'm kind of surprised, because it's a special one (as all of Barrington Stoke's/The Bucket List's titles seem to be?!)

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl tells the story of Jim, who has just arrived in Dundray with his family and is starting an unfriendly new school with his cousins, and Kit, a girl who takes him under her wing. The townspeople don't take too kindly to travellers, and Jim has to deal with bullying and name-calling as well as the possibility that they'll move along again before he can have a chance to get the education he wants.

For people unfamiliar with the terms in the book's title, as I was, 'Pavee' is a term a person may use to describe themselves, but may object to if used by people outside of their community and on the grid, people known as 'Buffers'. I appreciated the opportunity to read about a topic from someone who knows what they're talking about, especially as here in England these communities are only ever spoken of in a negative or satirical light.

The illustrations are of equal brilliance to the words within. Can we have more YA with illustrations, please? Once again - and I know I've said this on the blog three or four times now - Barrington Stoke and The Bucket List get things right. As a publisher (not gonna lie, I get really confused with publishers and their imprints - can you tell?) they are consistently pioneering and definitely one (ONES???) to watch.

The reason I've given this book four stars isn't because there's anything wrong with it, but simply because I didn't love it as much as books I've given five stars to. The Pavee and the Buffer Girl is essential reading, especially during this time of global intolerance towards anyone branded as 'other', and will make a delightful addition to your shelves.


  1. Great review! Haven't commented in awhile, but I do keep track of your posts! I'm not as interested in this book. Maybe it's the length of the book? Seems to short LOL

    1. Thank you, I appreciate it. This is a short story - the publisher specialises in YA designed for reluctant readers or people with dyslexia, but lots of people who don't fit into either of those categories enjoy them too. I personally really like it as it allows me to complete a book even when I don't have much time. :)