I first read Bitter Sixteen last summer and subsequently spent the next few months telling anyone who would listen that they should definitely read it. Now. In fact, I’ll walk you to the book shop myself. It reached the stage where people were asking me if I was taking commission from the publishers, or if the author was a friend, one I owed a big favour to.
No, none of that, I just fucking love this book.
Not everyone was annoyed at my insistent Bitter Sixteen pushing, one friend messaged me:
Oh my fucking god! I just finished Bitter 16…. That was by far one of the best reads I’ve had in a very long time! I have pretty much recommended it to every person I know! Dude… Good fucking call! It felt like he wrote it specifically for me…If I found out Stefan Mohamed lived in my loft and had been watching me for years…. I wouldn’t be surprised!
So don’t take just my word for it, take the word of my crazy friends too.
Stanly Bird wakes up on his 16th Birthday with superpowers, a surprising but welcome fact he shares with his best friend, his talking beagle Daryl. Before too long though, Daryl’s secret is in danger of getting out and he has to leave his small Welsh town and head to London. In London Stanly learns more about his abilities, and learns he’s not the only special one around.
This is one of the most original and funny books I’ve read in a while. Stanly is immensely entertaining with such a clear and distinct voice that it’s hard not to become best friends with him.
I work with a lot of teenagers and Stanly reminds me of my favourite parts of all of them, he has a quiet confidence when it comes to the things that really matter to him, but he has an almost constant internal dialogue of insecurity. Mostly he seems worried about doing the wrong thing and making an arse out of himself, a trait we can all identify with. He is passionate, loyal, and hyperactive, all in the body of a cynical teenager.
Stefan Mohamed managed, with just one book, and one amazing character and his talking beagle, to muscle his way into my list of favourite authors with his flawless, witty, insightful, brilliant writing. If you haven’t read Bitter Sixteen yet, why not?