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Publication Date: Available Now.
Source: Review copy provided by the author.
Dexter sets himself a Season’s Goal. To persuade Spanish idol, Fabio, to become his coach. By the end of the season. Slight problem. Fabio’s still playing professional football every week. And has never even heard of, top scorer for his team, Dexter.
Dexter also has a Life Goal. To become a Super League Football Star. By the age of sixteen. Just like his idol.
Spurred on by best mate, Mikey. Desperate to beat arch rival, Taylor Bradley. Dexter strives to achieve his goals. His Journal brims with exciting twists and turns of events – both on and off the pitch! But will Dexter succeed with any of his goals?
Suitable for 8+
Review by Joshua Jackson
Young boys dream of playing surrounded by the elite while earning big and living in luxury, competing in the ‘beautiful game’. Dexter’s Football Journal encapsulates this optimistic ambition into a novel that will help quench the football thirst of young fans with a fun, imaginative and joyful footy adventure that is worth reading despite some noticeable shortcomings.
Dexter is a young football obsessed boy, with aspirations of competing in the fictional football league the ’Super League’ alongside his football ideal Fabio, however he envisages Fabio as a father figure and is confident that he will become his fulltime coach and ensure he is propelled to professional status.
The premise is similar to many boys fantasies and could result in a dull and monotonous tale of family life, however the diary format employed allows the boring segments to bypassed and with each entry beginning with football facts and goals for the character, the book ensures it isn’t bogged down in pointless segments simply added for continuity. However despite it keeping a fast pace it lacks many slower segments that, infrequently used, can add more complexity to the flow, that allows the fast paced football action to become more impactful thanks to slower and shorter emotional segments. The writing itself is of a high calibre with an excellent mix of complex language tools and sentences that still retain a childlike vibe, this is something many children’s authors fail to fully grasp, and it is amazing to see a book that has writing that will appeal to younger children however still retains a structure older readers can appreciate.
The story itself, though short, is well structured with subtle touches that help tie together events and keep the story realistic and believable though keeps a noticeable element of childhood imagination. Despite not having a very big interest in football the book gripped me in football segments and this is another display of the fluid enticing writing drawing the reader in. Primary characters are a more mixed subject, the protagonist is well developed and his emotions make an impact, however many secondary characters are woefully underdeveloped and emotional events that I felt I should have cared about were lacklustre and some I was unsure of the role that played in the plot and their presence unnecessary and small attempts to include them in the story felt lacklustre and a reduced role, further more extensive development or the complete absence from the story would have greatly improved the story.
This tale football tale isn’t without faults, however an impressive writing style and robust story make it an ideal read for young football fans, the relatable protagonist will only improve the package that will inspire, intrigue and entertain young football lovers though some more complex failings may cause some more mature readers to leave slightly underwhelmed.