The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi

The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi

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Old Barn Books
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Winner, Book of the Year in both Young Adult and General Fiction categories in the author’s native New Zealand. A warm, surprising, witty and intelligent novel you will fall in love with.

Frankie Parsons is twelve going on old man, an apparently sensible, talented boy with a drumbeat of worrying questions steadily gaining volume in his head:

Are the smoke alarm batteries flat?
Does the cat, and therefore the rest of the family, have worms?
Will bird flu strike and ruin life as we know it?
Is the Kidney-shaped spot on his chest actually a galloping cancer?

Only Ma takes seriously his catalogue of persistent queries. But it is Ma who is the cause of the most worrying question of all, the one that Frankie can never bring himself to ask. Then the new girl arrives at school and has questions of her own: relentless, unavoidable questions. So begins the unraveling of Frankie Parsons's carefully controlled world.

A perfectly crafted novel, funny, compassionate, rich in characters. Hot damn (it also has great swear words), it’s good. – The Daily Telegraph

First published in the UK in 2010, this is a book whose preoccupations resonate even louder over a decade later.