Not Thomas

The Guardian’s Not the Booker prize shortlist 2017

Waverton Good Read Award shortlist 2018

Waterstones Wales Book of the Month July 2017

Welsh Books Council Book of the Month July 2017


The lady’s here. The lady with the big bag. She’s knocking on the front door. She’s knocking and knocking. And knocking and knocking. I’m not opening the door. I’m not letting her in. I’m behind the black chair. I’m very quiet. I’m very very quiet. I’m waiting for her to go away.

I’ve been waiting a long time.

At five years old, Tomos is sent to live with his teenage mother, Rhiannon, and he’s no longer allowed to see Dat, his beloved foster father. Rhiannon is hiding a drug addiction and she badly neglects Tomos. Her drug-dealing boyfriend, Brick, owes money to his suppliers who bang on the door and shout through the letterbox. One night they burst in…


“This is the human face of contemporary child poverty where the kindness of others, the refusal to look away, can make the difference between life and death. A difficult subject woven into a darkly engaging story. A recommended read.”

Jackie Law, writer & book blogger


Cover Endorsements:

“This novel should be printed on plastic so that the reader’s ample tears don’t blot the paper. Sara Gethin has given us an undeniably memorable character in Tomos, a lovable boy living in the most brutal poverty and abject neglect. It also casts light into the dark shadowlands of child poverty and should act as a reprimand to those who let it continue. Yet Gethin doesn’t forget that the writer’s first job is to hook the reader with a strong story and this one really gets under the skin. A deeply convincing novel that surges with emotion and compassion in equal measure.”
Jon Gower, author, producer and former BBC Wales arts & media correspondent

“Heart-wrenching, captivating and beautiful… a poignant portrayal of a hostile world depicted through the eyes of a child. The story stays with you long after you have read the final page. Gethin writes with profound depth and compassion in this exceptionally moving and powerful novel.”
Caroline Busher, Irish Times best-selling author

“The narrative pace is quick, at times breathless, as one would expect from a lively and care-deprived child, and it contributes to a thoroughly engaging page-turner. Sara Gethin, with her impressive range of writing skills, takes us to a tragic place, a bleak corner of messed-up lives and hopelessness, but she also shows us the warm spirit of human light that can break through such darkness.”
Peter Thabit Jones, poet, dramatist and author, with Aeronwy Thomas, of the Dylan Thomas Walking Tour of Greenwich Village, New York

“Compelling, disturbing, enthralling… ultimately, an uplifting tale… an affirmation of the human spirit. Expect to cry, to run the whole gamut of emotions… thoroughly recommended.”
Phil Carradice, author and broadcaster

Not Thomas – a story of child neglect, love and hope told in the voice of five-year-old Tomos – is published by Honno Press priced at £8.99 and is available from bookshops. Also available in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon.

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