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Andy Robb is the author of the Geekhood books, the first of which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award. He's had many jobs over the years, most notably as an actor working on stage and screen but now spends his time writing on his house boat on the Thames; occasionally stopping to feed the ducks.
Niftily navigating the tricky tightrope between exploring big issues (divorce, toxic masculinity, turning to alcohol when the going gets tough) and delivering a humorous, heartfelt story, Andy Robb’s Smashed achieves what YA fiction does best. It’s thought-provoking, informative and never talks down, with a relatable main character readers will root for. After The Night Everything Went Weird (when his dad hit his mum and moved out), fifteen-year-old Jamie discovers that the “Weight of Manhood” is a heavy burden to bear. He does all he can to keep his little sister happy, and gives Mum lots of valuable advice too, even stepping in as a mediator when things turn nasty between her and Dad. But, behind closed doors, Jamie “longs to be alone and far away from everything. Somewhere where I don’t have to make other people happy or solve their problems. Somewhere where I don’t have to pretend to be a father-figure.” Stifled by notions of how “Real Men” are supposed to behave - no tears, no talking about problems, “we’re supposed to be the silent heroes” - Jamie finds a feeling of carefree invincibility through drinking, until he regains a sense of himself and finds the strength to lighten his load. At once bold and tender, tear-jerking and funny, Andy Robb has certainly smashed it with Smashed.