Okay first up a disclaimer, normally I post reviews on a Monday and today is Thursday but I am actually taking part in a blog hop on for the author, Robert Bryndza. I did receive a paperback copy of the books to review but as you know I cannot help but be brutally honest and that is no different on this one so lets begin…
As always we begin with the Goodreads blurb..
It’s December 1992 and Thunderbirds are all the rage. Coco Pinchard is desperately trying to track down this year’s must-have Christmas toy -Tracy Island- for her four-year-old son Rosencrantz.
With only a few shopping days left until Christmas, it’s proving an impossible task. Throw into the mix her new job teaching English in the notoriously rough St Duke’s comprehensive school, her lazy husband Daniel, and the prospect of the in-laws descending for the festivities, and Coco wishes she could postpone Christmas and sail off to an island somewhere. Preferably with Tom Wednesday, the handsome art teacher.
But help is at hand as faithful friends Chris and Marika rally round and even mother-in-law Ethel tries to help in her own intiminable way. From dodgy dealings in a lay-by, to extreme shopping in Hamley’s with a Sylvanian Families fanatic, to having a go at the Blue Peter make-your-own Tracy Island, Coco tries everything in the hope that Rosencrantz gets to open his must-have toy on Christmas morning.
Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story is a fab festive addition to the smash-hit Coco Pinchard series.
Okay so this is the first book I have actually had in print, the others in the series I have previously read I have read on the Kindle, and I am going to be honest, the style of graphics on the cover does not really do it for me, this is of course a personal thing and something I mentioned in a review of one of the previous books, I could not pin down what it was that bothered me until my daughter was here the other day and picked it up from the table, she commented that it looked like one of the Tracy Beaker books she read when she was younger and I think that is the issue I have with the covers. The covers are very similar to those associated with YA fiction and that for twenty-something’s where as I definitely feel the books are aimed at a slightly more mature audience. It is not something that would normally bother me but I had enjoyed this series so much it is a shame to think others might over look them based on the impression of the cover. But enough of that now onto the inside.
I am not a fan generally of prequels, it is hard to fully immerse yourself in past events when you know what the future holds for the characters but this managed it very well for the most part. I felt by keeping the focus away from the marriage dynamics for the most part, and focusing on the relationships Coco has with the other characters, it developed a deeper understanding of Coco’s emotional development. I loved that we got to learn how the friendship with Marika began and that things were not always as tense between Meryl and Coco, this also helps in understanding even more why Meryl turns to Coco in a previous book when her marriage is in crisis.
The story resonates with every parent who has ever had that nightmare of trying to get their hands on that one special gift their child wants, and for someone of my age croup the Tracy Island/Blue Peter story line was certainly one I can remember, however just a little niggle again here, I love this but anyone more than a decade younger than me is not going to get not only the pop cultural references, such as mentioning Gayle Tuesday, but also how different the world was back then. Because the author has such an incredible way of drawing you into the story it is easy to lose sight of certain things that may jar with a slightly younger audience, automatically understand there were no mobile phones and no internet, the absence of these does not cause me to have to stop and think, whereas I know my daughter who is in her early twenties would have had to adjust her thinking to get that aspect.
As has been the case consistently through the Coco Pinchard series, the humour shines through and I read this book in three sittings, which might not be that impressive for some but given the limited time I have for reading these days it is a huge deal in my life, and as most of my reading gets done in the bath, Robert Bryndza may end up being responsible for me doing a good impression of a prune.
So lets do the scores then a bonus for you all, my quibbles with this book are not so much with the writing but the fact others may miss out on reading it, which I think would be a real shame, personally though I really enjoyed this I would much prefer the author focused on Coco now rather than looking back, but this book like the rest of the series still receives a 5 out of 5
Now as I mentioned this post is part of the author’s blog hop so we get a couple of bonus features first up if you go to Amazon today you can grab your own Kindle edition reduced to 99p / 99 cents.