Stone Cold by Robert Swindells

Every once in a while – not very often – you read a book that changes the way you think. And this is one of those.

The tale is told from two distinct first-person perspectives – two diaries read concurrently, the perspective shifting with each chapter division. It works remarkably well, because the characters are far from ordinary people. The first is a homeless teenager, compelled to leave home because of an abusive step-father, now living rough on the streets of London. The second is a serial killer, prowling the streets of London on a mission to rid the city of “dossers,” as he calls them. It’s clear from the outset that the two are destined to cross paths, and the suspense is maintained throughout the novel.

This is no fairy tale. It’s a grim depiction of homelessness, and a sharp criticism of our apathy towards it. Swindells does not gloss over the subject. He makes it clear that everything is not OK with the world, and we need to wake up.

This is a short novel, only a hundred pages. It is marketed as a children’s book, and I admire Swindells for daring to open kids’ eyes like this instead of pulling the wool over them, like so many writers. And if you’re an adult, I can only urge you not to skip this one because of the packaging. This novel won’t make you feel good, but it will change you.

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9 thoughts on “Stone Cold by Robert Swindells

  1. sapna says:

    Well I’ve read the book in english at school and I happen to think it’s an amazing book with the reality of life and not the fake life that is portrayed in other books with happy endings. It has a harsh but true honesty about it that I like. It’s the kind of media I like, reality.

    Sapna.

  2. Dani says:

    You know its wierd, on every site i’ve checked most of the people have read it at school. i’m reading it a year early and so far its brilliant!!! i cant wait to finish off the rest later this week. 😀

  3. Mariana says:

    I’ve read the novel and I find that its discussing a really important point, Homlessness. Not everyone thinks about homeless people, and I was one of them before reading the book. I never thought that homeless people can be forced to be in that situation, it really shocks the reader. I don’t really like the rushing in the end of the novel because it doesn’tgive the reader enough time to understand the situation, and understand the shocking end. But I like the way the author illustrated and highlighted the system of justice in Britain. And how justice can be forgetted between homeless people and a high slass person. Over all I think that this is a great and emotive novel to spent time to read it and really understand it.

  4. kylain says:

    I have just finnished reading this book with my english class at school and i beleive that this book portrays a vivid picture of what the real world can be like.

    It is about a young boy called Link who runs away due to circumstances with his stepfather. Then it bring in a another character called Shelter whom shows a meaner part of the world where people can do horrible things to people for different reasons, in shelters case it is because people are homeless.

    Most of my friends in my class didnt fully grasp the understanding that this book was showing.

    after reading this book it makes me want to buy and read another one of Robert Swindles books.

  5. Maxxy says:

    I’ve read this book at school, in english, and I find that it really does make you think about the problems that real-life homeless people face. I really would recommend that people read it.

  6. ebrima mboob says:

    what does robert him selfthink about stone cold

  7. bob says:

    it’s so cool the writer is brilliant he really brings the story together

  8. Emma says:

    It was a really good book… but it was too short. I read it for English as well. Unfortunately I now have to write an essay on it:(

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