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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Review - Jamie by L D Lapinski

Review - Jamie by L D Lapinski

Jamie Rambeau is a happy 11-year-old non-binary kid who likes nothing better than hanging out with their two best friends Daisy and Ash. But when the trio find out that in Year Seven they will be separated into one school for boys and another for girls, their friendship suddenly seems at risk. And when Jamie realises no one has thought about where they are going to go, they decide to take matters into their own hands, and sort it all out once and for all.

As the friends' efforts to raise awareness eventually become a rooftop protest against the binary rules for the local schools, Jamie realises that if they don't figure out a way forwards, they might be at risk of losing both their friends forever...

Jamie is an incredible book! It's powerful, it's informative, it's fascinating, and it is so very important. It's absolutely one of those books that every child should have access to. For some of them, it will help them to understand what is going on with them themselves. For others, it might give more insight and understanding into what their siblings, their friends, their wider family or even their favourite celebrities are going through. For all of them, it'll teach understanding and empathy. 

It's a story about a child, Jamie, who is non-binary. Jamie isn't a boy and they aren't a girl, they just don't feel right identifying or being identified as either gender. And they're happy, for the most part. This isn't an angst ridden coming out story, and I love how from the start Jamie knows who they are and is supported in this by their family and their friends. Even their school is understanding and supportive, mostly. Life seems pretty good for Jamie, with their wonderful brother, and two best friends, Daisy and Ash. But then high school looms on the horizon, or rather, two high schools, one for boys and one for girls, and neither one for Jamie. They now have to navigate a difficult route to high school, and an adult world that isn't as understanding or as supportive as the one they've been surrounded with so far.

This book definitely sets out to inform the reader about what it means to be non-binary and what it is like. There are explanations of key terms scattered throughout, in a way that makes sure every reader knows exactly what it's talking about without ever being patronising or coming across as lecturing. It's very well done, and I found it really helped me to learn more about a subject I thought I was already quite well versed in.

It's not just those definition points though. There are elements scattered throughout that a lot of people maybe wouldn't think twice about but which we need to think about. The visiting head teachers to Jamie's school start off by greeting the boys and girls in the audience, something their own teachers had dropped in favour of more inclusive language. A simple change to "Good morning children" rather than "Good morning girls and boys" is so easy to make and means that you can start your assembly or your talk in a way that doesn't immediately exclude anyone non-binary in the audience. There's a lot like this in here, those little things we can all be more aware of and those easy changes to make in our own behaviours. But then there are the bigger changes, shown here by the two schools. There's also this attitude that comes across really strongly from the two head teachers, and from others, including at times Jamie's own, generally very supportive parents. This question raised, "Why do you have to make this so difficult?" Jamie's asked several times to just pick one. It doesn't matter, really, no one is going to insist that they are a boy or a girl, they just have to pick one for the form, so that this will all go away and they can go to the high school of their choice. It raises an important question, I think. And it's not the one above. It's "Why is this worth fighting for?" And it answers this question in a really powerful, emotional way. This is important, it's part of Jamie's identity, who they are, and it is absolutely worth fighting for. Not just for Jamie but for anyone who comes after. 

One of the things Jamie does so well as a book is addressing these different elements, the small practicalities and the big societal changes alike, and explaining them and showing us why they matter and what we can do to bring about these changes and make our world a more inclusive, diverse place. There are some wonderful characters who support Jamie, from his parents who do find it hard at times, to the university student who shows us that things are changing in some places at least. There are great examples of allies. And I love Ash and Daisy. There are some key reminders that whatever we're going through, we need to be mindful of what other people are going through too, as Jamie's own struggles threaten his closest friendships. 

Jamie is gorgeous, emotional, powerful and absolutely essential reading!


Jamie by L D Lapinski is published by Hachette Children's Group. It is out on 30th March 2023.

I was given a copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


  1. Excellent examples of allies exist. I also adore Daisy and Ash. The fact that Jamie's closest friendships are threatened by his personal troubles serves as a poignant reminder that no matter what we are going through, we must keep in mind what others are going through as well.


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