I Dream of Carnegie: Stone Cold – Robert Swindells

This review is part of my I Dream of Carnegie series. Find out more here!

Stone ColdSynopsis from Goodreads

Homeless on the streets of London, 16 year old Link feels he has become an invisible outcast. When he meets streetwise Ginger, life becomes more bearable and he learns the tricks of survival. But when Ginger goes missing, Link feels a sickening sense of foreboding…







What I found most refreshing (and heart breaking, in equal measures) about Stone Cold was that Link wasn’t extraordinary. He was just a teenage boy, with teenage feelings, teenage fears who, through no fault or choice of his own, found himself in a situation that is so difficult to fathom for anyone, let alone a teenager.

It would have been easy to make Link into this strong hero who threw himself into situations, all guns blazing, and get out of situations without a scratch on him. The fact that he wasn’t, that he was just a normal boy, made it all the more difficult yet real to read about.

Reading that synopsis, you’ll expect that you’re not going to get a happy ending and, luckily, with Stone Cold you don’t. Luckily may be the wrong to use but when you’re reading a realistic book about a homeless teenager, unfortunately, it would be naïve to think that everything will be resolved at the end. But I just mean that Mr Swindells obviously wanted to portray a character and a situation in the glaringly real way, with no sugar or flowery prose. It was presented exactly how it was and, sadly, how it is on streets around the world.

My only criticism with this book was that I found the climax a bit rushed. The book so cleverly built up tension that I also would’ve liked a bit more development when it came to Shelter’s character because he was genuinely one of the creepiest and horrifying YA villain I’ve read recently.

I was surprised how much Stone Cold affected me. When I bought it, not really knowing anything about it, I thought it was going to be an unassuming book that I would possibly enjoy but forget about it in a few books time.
This book is so far from that, it’s difficult to explain. To say I enjoyed it would be a lie but I did appreciate it. In my opinion, the Carnegie Medal is awarded to the books that challenge us, the books that stick with you, the books that provoke conversation and debate. And with this definition in mind, Stone Cold is a wholly deserving winner.

2 thoughts on “I Dream of Carnegie: Stone Cold – Robert Swindells

  1. I’ve not heard of this but you had me at how realistic it is – so much YA portrays them as amazing and in control but I think we all forget how human most teens are. Adding this to my to-read list

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