FIVE STAR REVIEWS
Return of the Mac for Amazon.co.uk
Although the book is designed for young adults, I really enjoyed the read and didn’t feel that I was too old for the book. The Story is about a lad called Ash whose parents have broken up, his Dad is working abroad and his Mum is a drug addict who has no interest in him or anyone else. He is bullied at School, pretty much all real suburban life up to now. Then he gets a a laptop and that’s when it really gets interesting.Ash meets with a “real life” Big Brother who has the powers to do anything he wants and vows to get Ash revenge on the bullies who have tormented him. There are many twists and turns in the book and I, at the ripe old age of 51 enjoyed the book thoroughly.It can be classed as far-fetched in places but that’s what makes this book fascinating. 5 Stars from me!!!
Michelle75 for Amazon.co.uk
Big brother was the first Tracey morait book I read and I could not put it down I read it in one day would recommend it to anyone. It keeps you griped from the first page to the last will definitely read more of her books
Carol for Amazon.co.uk
I always enjoy reading Tracey Morait’s books and her latest offering was no exception. Big Brother ticked all the right boxes for me. Truly believable characters, I felt I was in each place that was written about, and along with a first class story what more could a reader ask for?
Well done, Tracey. I’m looking forward to your next book.
FOUR STAR REVIEWS
MJ Haines for Amazon.co.uk
Sci-fi with a dash of horror; street level style. Ash is a young boy from a broken home; while his dad lives and works in the US, Ash is going to school and once home tries to keep things together in his Liverpool home for both himself and his badly screwed up mother, although he is really from Bristol and only came back to his mother’s home town after his mum and dad broke up. I can’t say or explain too much of the plot as it would be a class one spoiler, but Ash, after getting another pasting from a school bully, realises that what he wishes for can actually come true.
Now, some things to point out. This is YA but at the back end of the age-group / target audience, verging on grown-up reading. The central character, although perhaps he has reasons to be the way he is,is not the nicest lad on the planet. He seems to resent authority (his drunken drugged-up mother, teachers, social workers, the usual suspects as it were), just as much as he resents those who use him as a punchbag and as the butt of their jokes. He gets angry, swears and rejects whenever he’s threatened, and is rather amoral in some serious issues, although always with pangs of guilt lurking in the background before occasionally coming to the fore. Contradicting this is his sense of duty which sees him reject the chance of a better life, either in the US with his father, or back in Bristol, where he could stay with his Gran, who he likes and respects, and which would also allow him to return to his old school in Bristol, and be with his old friends in his old haunts where he was happiest. Instead, realising he is all his messed up mother has got, stays in Liverpool.
There are also a few references to sex and sexuality, but in a very general sense, not in the least graphic; for any concerned parents looking for a good book for their kids, yes, this is at times realistic and even raw, but it’s nothing that isn’t readily available on all YA bookshelves and on the TV and cinema.
So, we have an anti-hero as the central character, some rather odd, spooky stuff going on (science or magic? That would be telling.) And an ending which may not appeal to all, but is highly effective.
All in all, a book flawed in some ways at some points, but nonetheless a good, solid read, weighing in somewhere between a novelette and a full length novel.
Michelle McDonough for Amazon.com and Goodreads
This book is about a boy named, Ash, who takes care of himself and his mother because she is never sober. He then met Big Brother, who wanted to get revenge on a “gang” of guys who bullied other kids. Ash and Big Brother begin playing a game however, the problem is Ash doesn’t want to play. Big Brother will not take no for an answer. He will not let go of Ash. It is a very interesting book. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.
Mamta Madhavan for Readers Favorite and Barnes & Noble
Big Brother by Tracey Morait is the story of Ash and his mother Rhonda. Ash’s life is not that of a normal child. His mother is an alcoholic and also into drugs. He faces many problems after his father moves to New York and his mother takes him and moves to Liverpool, away from his friends and grandmother. His problems don’t end at home: in school he is also harassed by a gang of bullies because of his different accent and his hearing aid.
The author has handled the themes very boldly. I felt a bit disturbed while reading, which actually applauds the author’s skill because that is what the author’s intention. The character of Ash is well drawn. His helplessness, his problems in adjusting to the new milieu, and all the upheavals in his life happening at the same time runs through the book. I felt a lot of empathy towards Ash by the time I finished reading the story.
When you start feeling Big Brother is slowly taking a turn towards sympathy and helping, it takes a while for the reader to understand that the ‘Big Brother’ Ash has met is not so ethical and there are some bad motives behind his befriending Ash. Will Ash be able to break away from Big Brother?
The book is courageous and some readers will not find it an easy read. There is strong language used which might put off some readers.
YvetteS for The Book Depository
I was given a copy of this book for Christmas. I like books with unusual storylines that don’t seem to fit into one particular category, and this one doesn’t. I can see why the author gave it a science fiction rating, but it’s more than that. It’s a story about a boy who is disturbed by years of abuse and bullying not only by his peers but also by his mother, so when the Big Brother character appears he’s unsure whether he’s real or not. There’s also a hint that the stranger could be a ghost. It’s easy for the reader to become confused by what is happening here, but I think that is the point: the main character is confused and doesn’t know what to make of what’s going on. In the end all is revealed properly and the twist is interesting and makes sense of what has gone on before.The story is set in the present day and given the background of the main characters some strong language is used throughout. Although some readers may find the language offensive I appreciated that it was part of the culture of the characters. Well worth a read.
THREE STAR REVIEWS
Shalini Austin ‘The Gypsy’ for Amazon.co.uk
I have read all of Tracey Morait’s books and each storyline is so different. And that is good! These are real people who go through interesting experiences, some very real, some totally fantastic, some a bit in-between.Big Brother is the in-between. It is set in the present time and charts the experiences of a young adult going through a difficult phase. Every young person has his or her own problems and Ash seems to have quite a lot of them! Bullied at school, neglected by a mother he obviously loves despite her completely self absorbed existence in the world of drink and drugs, and separated from a father he loves through no fault of his. It is no surprise he gets into trouble sometimes and no surprise that he lives his life through a video game! That’s where the in-between comes in. Is it a game, is it reality? And sometimes it is difficult to separate the real from fantasy and dreams. Which makes this an interesting read indeed! I have to be honest and say that there are things talked about in this book I do not understand. But then I am not the real target audience and I don’t play facebook games. Last time I indulged in a round of video games was probably in the 1980s! Kids today should be able to relate to it much better than an oldie like me!There is a lot of swearing, but I understand that it is set in a time and dealing with a group of kids who do swear a lot! I don’t have to like it, but I won’t criticise the author for it. And there are words I don’t get because they are SO “Liverpool”! I am not from there! “Ozzie” is hospital. I would have never guessed if it wasn’t for my Liverpudlian husband! Goalden Girl is still my favourite Morait book and I am looking forward to the sequel. But I am glad I read Big Brother. It is a bit complicated. Just like Ash’s life.
REVIEWS WITHOUT RATINGS
Elizabeth Mallak (age 15) for Reader Views Kids
A book about a young boy, bullied at school and rejected at home, stumbled across a mysterious young man willing to rid him of his bullying problems seemed like an amazing storyline, and so I found myself ordering this one-of-a-kind book, “Big Brother,” by Tracey Morait.
I’m sad, though, to admit my disappointment with this book, despite the intriguing storyline. Though there were some promising aspects throughout, the way it was written was itself confusing, but first let me go over the positives. Ash, a young boy different from the others, was the first thing that drew my attention in. Ash was different, not the normal jock or popular boy in school and I loved that. He was different and unique, with a hearing aid, and a poor life at home with his mother, which really gave a nice background to the book.
Also, the idea for the book was great! It was unique, something I’ve never heard of before. But once I started to read it I got confused real fast. It jumped around a lot, especially towards the end. And when Big Brother called Ash, Ashley, I was thrown for a loop wondering if Ash was in fact a girl, because his character was never explained in detail, but it was obvious he was a boy in a lot of the scenes in the book so I dismissed my confusion. Also, in one part there was something mentioned about making a call to the United States to call his father which confused me. Was Ash in some other country, and which one?
Ash was also a murky character, he seemed bitter to his mother and bullies, wishing them dead and hating them, then he was getting excited over their deaths or injuries. Yet he seemed not to want them dead in certain parts of the book, and sometimes he didn’t think he could live with the guilt.
The end also confused me, and disappointed me, throwing me for a loop I couldn’t find my way out of. Of course famous books like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Shakespeare, along with ‘the Red Badge of Courage’ by Stephen Crane also confused me, so I’ve never been one for overly complex books, especially ones that seem to jump from here to there without forewarning. This doesn’t mean I like my books simple, I just like them more detailed, and explained, so I can easily follow the path of the story.
So even though in the end “Big Brother” was a disappointment to me, maybe Tracey Morait will be the author for you. After all, the twists and turns, and plot were great; the detail just wasn’t enough for me and the end was a disappointment. I don’t recommend this book to anyone who gets confused easily, nor do I recommend this book to those of you who enjoy “living” in the book with the details and descriptions.
Self Publishing Magazine, Winter Issue, January 2014 (this magazine has recently relaunched and no longer publishes reviews)
This is an intriguing concept; bullied teen Ash starts receiving messages through a Facebook game from ‘Big Brother’ who offers revenge on all his enemies. Pulled into a terrifying world of violence inside and outside the internet, Ash is forced to make stark choices between right and wrong in order to escape Big Brother’s clutches.
This has teen appeal and is very action packed and gruesome with a good twist at the end. However, the plot is sometimes undercut by what the author tells rather than shows. Ash is also rather an ambiguous hero – he doesn’t seem overly bothered by the fate of those around him. Depiction of life on the estate is very bleak, and the bullies are given very little in the way of a back story.
With a tighter structure this could have been more powerful, and a more focused moral perspective would have given it more edge. But it’s a good read, and captures a teenage register quite well with an imaginative and original story.