Title: Billy and the Golden Gate
Author: Emma Gowing
Genre: Contemporary, PSHE young adult, children’s fiction
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd: Matador
Pages: 128 pages
Publication Date: 15th July 2014
My Rating: 4/5
Hi there friends,
I’ve just finished reading Billy and the Golden Gate and an enjoyable read it was! Don’t let the front cover deceive you into thinking it’s a cheery little children’s picture book. At times it’s anything but…
I received a copy a digital copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review by the publishers via NetGalley.
Billy and the Golden Gate begins with Billy, a young boy, trying to remember his late father. He struggles to retain memories of his appearance but one memory remains strong. The memory is of a book, inside the book is a magic map which leads directly to the Golden Gate. You can only find the Golden Gate and see the magic of the map on the Day of the Dead as the Golden Gate is where the dead go. Billy’s quest to find the Golden Gate involves friends, teachers, old people, dead people and a whole bunch of adventures. Billy learns that helping each other and having good friends and family are the most important things in life. He has to make some tough decisions and you’re just going to read the book to find out what choices he makes along the way.
I really enjoyed reading this book though the front cover of the book is greatly misleading. If I had seen the book in a shop, I would have presumed it was for younger children and was perhaps even a picture book. Despite appearing as a book designed for younger children, it has some pretty creepy characters in and is definitely written for 11+. I felt the front cover certainly didn’t do the book any justice, a good reminder of why not to judge a book by its cover.
Gowing has a lovely written style and really hooked me into Billy’s world. The characters are all important elements of her story and unlike some books where characters just seem to be thrown in, all of the characters have a role to play. It had a lovely moral to the story and showed the value of helping one another, friendship and coming to terms with loss. If you know a child aged over 11 who has lost someone close to them, this would be a good book to suggest for them to read.
One of the characters is particularly creepy and as an adult I was still a little bit freaked out by him. Fair warning! This doesn’t detract from the book at all though as it was an enjoyable book which had good pace, adventure and values!
If you wish to read the book, you can get a copy from Amazon UK HERE. Enjoyed my review? Hit that like button! Maybe even follow my reviews too.
I hope you’re having a wonderful day and make the most of it!