Book Reviews

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The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton, priced PS14.99 (ebook PS8.99). Available now. ON the surface, geeky schoolboy Alex Woods doesn't have a lot going for him.

With a clairvoyant for a mum and a natural talent for saying and doing the wrong thing, he finds himself branded weird and bullied by his classmates.

A rather unpromising first meeting with elderly curmudgeon Mr Peterson marks the start of an unlikely friendship. Laugh-out-loud funny in places, Gavin Extence's debut novel perfectly captures the awkwardness and agonies of growing up.

A touching account of Alex's attempts to make sense of a nonsensical world and stand up for his beliefs, it raises some difficult questions.

Death, faith and morality are some of the concepts tackled here but with a lightness of touch and humour that never sounds like preaching.

Utilising a mixture of letters, diaries, journalism, official records and fiction the writers later penned, Feigel expertly Book Reviews The Love-Charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War by Lara Feigel is published in hardback by Bloomsbury, priced PS25. Available now. THE Love-Charm of Bombs is an enchanting biography examining the first-hand experiences of five prominent authors - Graham Greene, Elizabeth Bowen, Rose Macaulay, Henry Yorke (pen-name Henry Green) and Hilde Spiel - in wartime London.

Volunteering as ambulance drivers, fire-fighters and ARP wardens at the height of the Blitz, the fearful blackouts and images of London ablaze are brought vividly to life. …