This week is a very exciting one for me as my debut novel for adults, Not Thomas, goes on blog tour with Brook Cottage Books. I’ve never had a blog tour before and so needed to have the whole thing explained to me very carefully and slowly by Helena who’s responsible for marketing at Honno, my publishers. I think I’ve got my head around it now.
For the whole of the week, book bloggers will be promoting and reviewing ‘Not Thomas’ on their own websites, and also posting on twitter and Facebook – all co-ordinated by the wonderful Brook Cottage Books. There’s also an interview and competition to win copies of Not Thomas hosted by Boon’s Bookcase.
Today I’m going to feature here on my website the review by BeingAnne.
Not only did Anne write a review that made me cry – in the best way possible – she also nominated ‘Not Thomas’ for the Guardian’s ‘Not the Booker‘ prize. I’ve followed that award with interest for a number of years now, and to think that my little novel will be on the longlist come next Monday (provided it meets all the requirements) has absolutely made my week! So a huge thank you to Anne for taking the time and trouble to nominate Not Thomas, and for believing it worthy.
Here’s Anne’s review:
“Every so often, a book comes along – without any great fanfare – that makes me want to shout about it from the rooftops. Not Thomas by Sara Gethin – published by the consistently excellent Honno Press on 15th June – is one of the most stunning books I’ve read this year. As I finished reading, I immediately nominated it for the Guardian Not The Booker prize – if there is any justice in this world (and I do hope there will be) this book should be on mainstream prize shortlists everywhere. I’m just so thankful that Sara chose a blog tour with Brook Cottage Books to help bring it to people’s wider attention. Had she not, it might have passed me by entirely… and what a loss that would have been.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big fan of reading about the ugliness of this world, drug culture, violence, neglect – but that’s the world you’ll find in this book, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away. And if you’d told me that I’d sit, totally rapt, reading a book written in the voice of a five year old child, seeing that dreadful world through his eyes and from his unique perspective – well, I really wouldn’t have believed you.
I could do with a thesaurus to come up with some new adjectives – the best ones have all been used. Let’s try powerful, moving, heart-wrenching, poignant, shocking, emotional, enthralling, and maybe a bit exhausting – but let’s not forget uplifting, life-affirming, and sometimes wonderfully funny too. The impact of this book was exceptional. Tomos’ voice is absolutely authentic and compelling: you find yourself smiling at the way he expresses himself, immediately before being in tears at some new piece of cruelty that he dismisses as the norm. The detail of his world becomes part of yours – the borrowed coat, the damaged truck, the coin, the black chair – and long after finishing reading, those small details will stay with you.
Standing back from the story and its content a little, the mechanics of story-telling are superbly handled – overheard adult conversations, not always fully understood by Tomos, move it cleverly forward and disentangle the threads around past history and the adult relationships. The story itself is strong, with real narrative drive and unexpected twists and turns – much more than an unflinching view of a suffering child.
There’s a whole range of humanity in this book – exceptional generosity, love and kindness sitting alongside ignorance, cruelty and neglect. And you’re left with that aching feeling that someone should have seen what was happening and intervened more forcibly – and then wondering how many other children might be suffering in a similar way.
The author, in one of her blog posts, says of the reader: I hope… their mouths will have smiled, as Tomos might say, even if their eyes have cried. That summed this wonderful book up absolutely perfectly for me. A unique and unforgettable experience – and one I’d urge everyone not to miss.”
Thanks to Anne for her wonderful review. You may like to check out all her other reviews on her website Being Anne. And here’s the link again for Brook Cottage Tours – where there are opportunities to become involved with book blogging, if you love reading. And why not enter the Not Thomas Giveaway with Boon’s Bookcase?
More posts from the blog tour to come, and I’ll keep this site updated about the Guardian’s Not the Booker prize too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. Let me know what you think.
Love, Sara x
Sara’s debut novel Not Thomas is published by Honno Press in paperback and as an e-book, and is available to buy on Amazon.
8 thoughts on “Not Thomas Brook Cottage Books Blog Tour”
Anne’s review sums up ‘Not Thomas’ perfectly. You should be rightly proud of every accolade and her nomination of your novel for the ‘Not the Booker’ prize. As you know, I loved your book and look forward to publishing your interview right after your blog tour. Congratulations and good luck!
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Thank you, Jan, that’s very kind of you. Looking forward to being interviewed at the weekend on your blog x
I’ve just nominated it too! I didn’t realise someone else had!
I’ve seen a lot of authors doing “book blog tours” at the moment and I have no idea what it means 😂
Thanks for nominating Not T for Not the Booker too, Bethan -that’s brilliant. You should definitely look at joining a book blogging group that does tours. You’d be great at it – and think of all those lovely books you’d get to read! Thanks again for reading and reviewing Not Thomas. Hope you have a great summer of reading! xx
I nominated Not Thomas, and am about to write a book review on my blog. I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you so much, Ellen – that’s absolutely brilliant! I’ll scoot over to your website now to read your review – thanks for letting me know!
You lady, are most welcome.
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I can’t wait to read my copy, and you know I’ll tweet about how awesome it is….a lot! 😉
I’d love to know more about your experience with the Brook Cottage Books blog tour down the road because I know you’re one busy bee right now!
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