Billie Templar's War
by Ellie Irving
Billie Templar desperately wants her dad to come home. He's a soldier and has been away for seven weeks, fighting for 'Queen and country' - but how can the two of them possibly defend their four-year record of winning the three-legged race at the school carnival if he's thousands of miles away?Then, when one of the other soldiers in Dad's regiment is seriously hurt, the stakes get even higher. Billie needs her dad home, sharpish. There's only one person who can help - Her Majesty. She's in charge of the army, right? She can send Dad home! Billie tries to get inside Buckingham Palace to sort it out, but it's not that easy. So, with the help of shy Sarah and allergy-prone Jake, the school brass band and a motley team of enthusastic old-age pensioners, Billie hatches a fool-proof plan to get the Queen to her little village instead...Both laugh-out-loud funny and utterly heart-wrenching, and featuring an unforgettable cast of sweet, crazy characters, Billie's journey will have you laughing and crying in equal measure.
I really enjoyed Ellie Irvingís first book, For the Record,
and was looking forward to this one from the first time I heard about it (during an interview she did with me!) but it completely surpassed my expectations. Itís in turns sweet, really funny, heartbreaking, and massively feel-good. In fact, Irving is becoming one of the authors Iím most likely to turn to when I need cheering up because she writes with such warmth itís impossible not to read her books with a massive smile on your face. She also manages to fit in some really important messages towards the end of the book with one speech, in particular, without ever seeming to hit the reader over the head with them. And she has such great characters . . . Absolutely huge recommendation, a real must-read. (And as if the book wasn't superb enough, I think it may be my favourite cover of the year! (The Bookbag)
This is the second novel from an author who is definitely one to watch for this age group and adds to the growing number of quality stand-alone titles for younger readers . . . She seems to specialise in creating multi-layered communities of young and old who, despite many mishaps and misunderstanding along the way, manage to work together to achieve the very well intentioned aim of the main protagonist. This is in the very best tradition of children's literature where children know better than adults how to solve the problems of the world! Billie Templar is by no means a saccharine heroine, however. She is prickly and often antagonistic and faces compromising moral decisions, but her aspirations are wholly sympathetic . . . Often downright hilarious and with moments of genuine pathos, this is a class read that will engage and provoke in equal measureJoy Court (SchoolZone)
an amusing roller-coaster of a story [with] a huge cast of charactersÖ the pace is fun, stubborn Billie is endearing, and the ending is just as you would wish for. (Carousel)
This is a very easy to read and enjoyable book which is bang up to date in its themes: the worry of English soldiers in Afghanistan, the reality of Billie's dad's best friend being seriously wounded, and the Jubilee celebrations. Billie is a likeable character who reminds me of Jacqueline Wilson's Tracy Beaker. She is very outspoken; she acts on an idea without thinking it through and she often gets into trouble, but I admired her terrific determination to achieve what she wanted. The book is true to life and I think it has some important messages about not judging people by first impressions and you will be surprised to learn grumpy old Mr Featherstone's secret. It also tells you that good things can come out of bad situations even if you can't always have exactly what you want. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone between eight and twelveLottie Longshanks (Guardian Online)