What’s New Harper Drew? By Kathy Weeks

What’s new Harper Drew by Kathy Weeks

When I found out about What’s New Harper Drew? By Kathy Weeks I thought it was a perfect match for my Tom Gates loving 8 year old, in fact it is much more than that and I loved reading Harper’s story too so I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for this book!

Ideal for fans of contemporary diary novels, and packed with actual laugh out loud moments but also perfectly balanced between the light touch and issues of tween/teen angst to speak to older MG readers who are not emotionally nor socially ready for the more graphic and demanding nature of young adult books but want to feel seen.

I found it brilliant that this is achieved, navigating the social pressures of secondary school and the cringe-stage of family but without the cliche of crushes and romance. Harper is the central character, and her development without those distractions is a powerful and important message for young readers, that you are enough, and you don’t need a boy/girlfriend to prove that.

What’s new Harper Drew by Kathy Weeks
Illustrations by Aleksei Bitskoff

Harper’s family is so bonkers that she has her own Drew Dial to assess each situation. With a loving but spectacularly accident-prone dad, a mum addicted to supermarkets and bleaching things, a big brother who wants to start a skateboarding Vlog with half a skateboard and an uncle who thinks he’s a movie producer it’s pretty much chaos all round. 

Then throw in school drama with trying to get an invite to Maisie aka ‘The Queen of Everything’s’ Birthday Festival (definitely NOT a party) and raising money for a disabled stair lift so her best friend Edward can stop having to sit out his science lessons under the block stairs with a textbook it’s incredible and inspiring how Harper holds herself together, and not only endures but learns to shine. 

What’s new Harper Drew by Kathy Weeks
Illustrations by Aleksei Bitskoff

With its blend of modern social media epistolary extracts, illustrations and dear diary format from a naive child perspective it has the hallmarks of the timeless (and hapless) Adrian Mole.  Like Townsend weaved in elder loneliness and poverty, single parent families and politics, Weeks equally touches on social issues such as secret homelessness, unemployment, parental favouritism, the outrageous ways that disability discrimination perpetuates making this more than ‘just’ a ‘funny’ book. 

However, most importantly Weeks doesn’t let Harper stumble through like Mole, she empowers her Harper with the grit and resilience that young people find in themselves when the going gets tough but it NEVER feels like an ‘issues’ book, with such a gentle and caring touch bedazzled with giggles, it’s a real treasure. 

And it is funny. There were painfully relatable moments as both a person and then cringing as a mum to Harper thinking ‘oh god do I do that too?’ when her parents are cringeworthy!! That itself is testament to the universality that Kathy brings to the plate. 

Even putting a twist on the depiction of the modern dad, yes he’s a bit hapless but NOT because he’s absent, emotionally stunted or distant. Ok so he’s a disaster with DIY and definitely accident-prone BUT he is engaged as a parent and caring, he may be late or cause an accident but doesn’t complain about driving Harper to places, and loves his family and encourages and supports his children in their endeavours whether that’s starting a Vlog or raising money for a good cause.

What’s new Harper Drew by Kathy Weeks
Illustrations by Aleksei Bitskoff

After I devoured this funny and heartwarming tale, I immediately passed it to Littlefae who LOVES this and constantly read out sections and read it over and over giggling for days!! 

Littlefae says: 

It was great! I loved it, it’s so funny, her daddy is so silly especially when he thinks he is an Avenger and when he freaks out at the fish eye!! And I secretly thought it was a bit funny when Maisie’s hair went on fire!!! 

Troy her big brother is so funny, he wants to be rich and famous but not really do anything!! 

I love Harper, she fixes things when she finds her confidence, although she gets angry and frustrated she doesn’t have tantrums, she works through it, that’s really strong. 

This is the perfect book for young readers who may be struggling with the later tween and early teen angst from peer issues, feeling weird because your family isn’t social media cookie cutter perfect, but learning to lean in to your weird and being proud of who you are. Resilience and gumption by the bucketload, I LOVE IT. 

Make sure to check out the other stops on the tour this week!!

What’s new Harper Drew by Kathy Weeks

What’s New Harper Drew? by Kathy Weeks is published by Hachette. 

Thank you for my copy! 💜

2 thoughts on “What’s New Harper Drew? By Kathy Weeks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s