Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a block of flats on an inner-city housing estate. The second best runner in the whole of Year 7, Harri races through his new life in his personalised trainers - the Adidas stripes drawn on with marker pen - blissfully unaware of the very real threat all around him. With equal fascination for the local gang - the Dell Farm Crew - and the pigeon who visits his balcony, Harri absorbs the many strange elements of his new life in England: watching, listening, and learning the tricks of urban survival. But when a boy is knifed to death on the high street and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own. In doing so, he unwittingly endangers the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to try and keep them safe. A story of innocence and experience, hope and harsh reality, Pigeon English is a spellbinding portrayal of a boy balancing on the edge of manhood and of the forces around him that try to shape the way he falls.
This book has intrigued me for a while now, but although I have a copy, I still haven't picked it up to read. I don't know why, it just keeps passing me by.
However, reading this first page now, might just change that! The first sentence, although short, has so much impact! I'm immediately asking who the blood came from, and what happened. And I feel as though I'm already getting to know the character, even from just half of this page; the boy's naive dare game, and the belief that if they cross the police line, they'll turn to dust. We can already tell that the main character is young, and still very naive, but he also has a certain level of intelligence about him (noticing that the 'dead boy's mama' was guarding the blood as though she didn't want it to be washed away, which I think is a pretty intelligent observation for such a young character).
I'm definitely intrigued by this character, and by what is happening on this first page, so this is going to have to be bumped further to the top of the to-read pile!
What do you think of this first page? If you've read the book, do you think it was the best way for the novel to start? If you've not read it yet, does it make you want to pick it up, to find out what's going on?
Let us know in the comments below :)