Friday, March 30, 2018

ARC Review: Oskar Blows a Gasket by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Oskar Braithwaite is bold, brash and gorgeous. Just ask him.

Armed with designer backpack full of make-up and retro music galore, Oskar sets off for college. And, with attitude even spikier than his heels, nothing is going to hold him back. Except maybe one thing…his past is shouting louder than the 80s songs he adores and it won't be ignored. Behind the effervescence are secrets, lies and sadness. Try as he might, not even Oskar can hide forever, and one day it isn't only pop icon Simon Le Bon who's going to catch up.

Who is writing letters? And why is a spy secretly following?

Enter Bear, with dancing eyes and secrets of his own. Bear's kindness sparkles brighter than Lycra leggings, and everyone knows Oskar loves shiny things. Like every prophecy, their fates seem inevitably linked. As the walls of Oskar's defence crumble, Bear shows his hidden strength, but will it be enough to save them?

Dani's rating:

Oskar is shameless and mean. He rocks high heels, rainbow hair, and makeup, and is obsessed with the 80s. He makes Bear take the bad mattress. He's showy and confident, and tells Bear (really Gareth) that he's Simon Le Bon's love child.

But Oskar with a "k" is a cover; Oscar with a "c" is a scared, insecure boy from the "hood" who's lost everything.

Oskar meets Gareth in the middle of a panic attack. Gareth helps him, calms him, and eventually becomes Oskar's everything, but it's not easy because Oskar has built up a thick shell, a persona. It works to keep people out.

When I read a Claire and Al story, I know I'm going to get something uniquely British with authentic dialogue and real-life angst. But that's all I know. Their stories aren't easy to categorize. They don't fit a mold, and that's my favorite thing about their writing.

Oskar Blows a Gasket is a story about Oskar finding himself and falling in love. It's real. It's happy and sad all at once.

Cameo appearances by Simon Le Bon and a psychotic cat.


Get the book:


There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away.
~Emily Dickinson

An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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