By: Paul Collins
Genre: YF - Children's & teenage fiction & true stories
Published by: Ford Street Publishing
Published: 01 Mar 2017
ISBN: 9781925272628


A tale of the acceptance of change and loss; the importance of friends and family, and the uplifting strength that comes from hope. Harry’s mum runs a boarding house for transient old men who are down on their luck. To counter his frustration and anger, Harry longs for the companionship of a dog.

The Annual Gala at school features a dog hurdle race and more than anything in the world, Harry would love to enter a dog into that race and win it. Such a win would give him a sense of worth and belonging. A new lodger, Jack Ellis, befriends Harry and shares a wealth of outback adventure stories featuring dogs with him.


Harry is one of those characters that you just feel for, right from the beginning of the story. He seems to have been dealt all the things in a teenage life that could leave you susceptible to a lack of hope and self confidence, and that can provide fodder for school bullies.

Told in diary form, Harry’s story is a term long English assignment all about wishes. And his are simple - he wants his Mum to go back to normal, to stop seeing the psychologist, to have a dog, to have a friend, to stop being used as a punching bag, to be a writer, and to win the annual dog race.

We are taken on an emotional journey with Harry, as he documents his life during the 3 months of the assignment. His newly formed relationship with the new lodger, Jack, seems to be the catalyst for things to start to improve for Harry. But is Jack all that we think?

Boys, in particular, will thoroughly enjoy this book. It leaves the reader with a sense of hope and empowerment, and that can only be a good thing for anyone who might be feeling like Harry.

Reviewed by Sam

Teacher Notes are available on our website for this title.