REVIEW: Twitch by M.G. Leonard

REVIEW: Twitch by M.G. Leonard

First things first, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Walker Books, for accepting my request to read and review Twitch via NetGalley.

Best known for being the author of The Battle of the Beetles series (and co-author of Adventures on Trains with Sam Sedgman), Twitch is M.G. Leonard’s first standalone novel.

My first experience of an M.G. Leonard novel was an absolute delight. This story follows a birdwatcher called Twitch, who inadvertently finds himself caught up in the drama surrounding the search for an escaped prisoner.

Twitch is the butt of everyone’s jokes in school, caring far more about birds than people, but when he saves Jack – one of his bullies – from being tormented by older boys, Twitch and Jack strike up an unlikely friendship. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before their fledging friendship is on the rocks, thanks to the interference of friendly stranger Billy.

Billy saves Twitch from Jack on the last day of school, and he’s convinced that a leopard can’t change its spots. But Twitch can’t help wondering if there’s something suspicious about the new arrival. Billy is lovely to Twitch and seems to be looking out for him, but is there more to the fact that Billy has arrived in town the day that an escaped prisoner is being reported in the news?

The thing I loved the most about Twitch is that it shows younger readers that it’s okay to have an unusual hobby, and an intense interest in something out of the norm. I’ve already mentioned this in my mid-month wrap up, but I used to love gardening and birdwatching. I grew out of it because it wasn’t seen as ‘cool’ and I felt awkward and dorky about it, and that’s one of my biggest life regrets. If I’d read Twitch when I was younger, it legitimately would have changed my life! For that reason alone, I’d recommend it to all middle grade readers, and I’ll be passing it on to my little ones when they’re older.

I also liked the friendship between Twitch and Jack. In some ways it reminded me as Wonder, another middle grade novel which demonstrates that friendships can develop in the most unlikely of places. Just because you don’t get along with someone when you first meet them, it doesn’t mean that they won’t eventually become your friend. I think this is an important lesson to teach younger children, because there are so many reasons why someone might not be friendly towards you when you first meet them, and it’s always worth being kind and giving them another chance. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a person by your first encounter with them!

The only reason I gave Twitch four stars instead of five was because I struggled to suspend my disbelief at times. Yes, it’s a middle grade, but some of the things which happened had me rolling my eyes because they were too convenient. This might appeal to a younger reader – one of the perils of reading middle grade as an adult – but it threw me out of the story a little bit.

Overall, Twitch was an enjoyable and fast-paced middle grade read from an author who I’ll definitely be reading more from in the future.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Twitch!

Thanks for reading,