Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Review: An English Boy in New York by T. S. Easton
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: August 7th, 2014
As part of his prize as All-UK Knitting champion, seventeen-year-old Ben Fletcher has won himself an all-expenses-paid trip to New York ...and to the US National KnitFair. Unfortunately, his new girlfriend Megan is (somewhat suspiciously) unable to come with him, which means Ben has the dubious pleasure of being accompanied by his family and his third-choice-friend Gex. The other problem is, Ben's not really sure he wants to be known as a teenage knitting genius any more. His idea for a knitable hoodie could make him millions ...or turn him into a laughing stock forever. An existential knitting crisis turns out to be the least of Ben's concerns though, as he quickly finds that his apparent magnetism for trouble has followed him across the pond.
I've been looking forward to reading An English Boy in New York since discovering Boys Don't Knit late last year, and it quickly becoming one of my favourites. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this sequel just as much as the first book, speeding through it as fast as Ben's knitting needles working on a Hoopie!
This book picks up just after the end of Boys Don't Knit, where Ben has won the UK knitting competition, and is then invited to attend KnitFairUSA in New York. His probation means he almost can't go, but numerous strings are pulled and Ben, his parents and gangster-wannabe friend Gex all make their way to the Big Apple. As is standard in Ben's life, New York is no different to Hampton - things go wrong and disaster lurks around every corner. Poor Ben!
One of my favourite parts of this series is the supporting characters. I love Ben, don't get me wrong, but everyone else is so strong and they really stand out. Ben's mum and dad are kooky, honest people with a great sense of humour, Gex is an absolute lunatic and thinks he's actually a member of a gang, and Megan is Ben's very realistic, grounded girlfriend. They're all totally different, but they all inspire and support Ben in some way. I love them all!
New York is a very different environment for Ben to be in, and it brings out the best and worst of him. Of course there's lots of knitting involved, but there's also the PR and celebrity side of it to explore. Ben is quite big news in the knitting world, so naturally everyone wants to feature him on TV shows or interview him on the radio. He doesn't deal with the fame quite as well as he could and ends up falling into a few bad habits, but he knows deep down that he isn't that kind of person. He learns many life lessons in this book, some of which I'm sure will be forgotten in no time!
I love this series and all it has to offer. An English Boy in New York is a fantastic sequel and everything I'd hoped for: heartfelt family moments, boys knitting and so many funny moments that I'm having trouble recalling them all. I hope there's more to come from Ben and his circle of family and friends, and I hope it won't be too long a wait. Books like this make me ridiculously happy, and that's all I can ever ask for - well, that and a hand-knitted Hoopie in black...