Title: A Song For Bill Robinson
Author: C.E Atkins
Publisher: Pict Publishing
Publication Date: December 6, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Tensions are building on the notorious Holds End estate.
The local community centre is fighting for survival and the murder of 15-year-old Lewis Matthews remains unsolved…
Wannabe teenage singer, Bill Robinson, just got out of hospital after surviving a vicious attack. He thinks he knows who attacked him…and why. When a violent feud escalates between him and local thug Charlie McDonnal, Bill vows to find the killer and help save the community centre by taking part in the local singing contest.
How can music bring a shattered community together? And can Bill keep his own demons at bay long enough to win the singing contest and find out who killed Lewis Matthews?
When I was younger, I was bullied a lot, specially in high school. When you’re different from everyone else, you are made fun of, and it’s usually frowned upon. Which is tragic, in my opinion. Individuality is so important because it shapes you on who you can be. A Song For Bill Robinson tackles the topic of bullying and many more pressing issues such as anger issues, alcoholism, abandonment, amongst a couple of things.
The story starts off with Bill Robinson, a 16-year old kid who lives in Holds End, waking up in a hospital bed with memories of a group of boys beating him up to break a couple of his ribs and puncture his lung. The town is in an uproar because of this, as a month ago a 16-year-old kid was Lewis Matthews was just killed. No one knows who did it, and it was disturbing the small town of Holds End. Bill Robinson is sure of who assaulted him even if he didn’t see the face of the perpetrator, but he wanted to know why. Why was he being targeted? What has he done for him to be treated as such?
As he got out of the hospital and tried to live life normally, going back to hanging out with friends, spending time at the community center, and getting ready to join the singing contest in town, he gets into a feud with Charlie McDonnal. After the dirty altercation between two teens, Bill is determined to dig out Charlie’s secrets, find out who killed Lewis, and help save the local community center. And he is going at lengths to do this despite all the personal battles he was having and the raging war inside him.
Personally, there were good and tough moments while I was reading this book. It triggered plenty of memories in high school that I would rather not go back to, and I know that I’ve been there, done that but I felt so much for Bill and connected with him in this aspect. And I’ve seen myself in him when he was bottling up his anger, his frustration with the elders, and his personal struggles. It was so frustrating but that is a reality that some of us face when we were at this age, or some are facing this reality right now. I really love this part of Bill’s character. I didn’t like how he was too bullheaded, and that he was trying to act as if he can handle the world all on his own at 16. But then again, now that I’m thinking about it, didn’t we all think that was at some point in our teens?
The character development in all the characters in the book was also terrific. I really liked how Bill blossomed, how he was imperfect, and that he grew from all that he went through. Same goes for his friends, Logan, Adam, and Summer. There were definitely moments of self-realization and reflection. I enjoyed the ups and downs of their friendship and relationships. Bill’s relationship with his parents and siblings were also tackled in a good way, when it comes to broken families. It wasn’t abrasive nor was it too dramatic. I really liked how Atkins wrote it so delicately.
Personally, I find that one of the most important parts of this book is the sexual exploration and identity of the characters. These days, identifying sexuality is such an important step in people’s lives. I liked how Bill was so open to everything he was experiencing, that he was not affirming or denying about his feelings towards males, females, and the other sexes. And when Summer was provoked by Bill on these thoughts, she too was open about possibly being more than who she is at the moment. Which is such a great approach to exploring. When I was in my teenage years, it wasn’t as easy and people weren’t so open minded so this was such a good part of the book, in my opinion.
Overall, thinking about it now and eventually talking about it on this blog, I find that I really quite enjoyed A Song For Bill Robinson. The music references were great, I even made a playlist of Bill’s Playlist (that I will embed below), that I was listening to while reading. It reminded me of Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. So if you enjoyed these books, I would definitely recommend A Song For Bill Robinson.
Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Chantelle Atkins for having me on this blog tour! Follow the rest of the tour on the banner below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to reading, writing and music and writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life and has now been developed into a 6 book series. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere and award-winning dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels, plus a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories. The award-winning Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature was released through Pict Publishing in October 2018. Her next YA novel A Song For Bill Robinson will be released in December 2019. Chantelle has had multiple articles about writing published by Author’s Publish magazine.