Stay Where You Are and Then Leave


The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight – but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name – on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by – a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place.

~ Synopsis from goodreads

This is a very sweet and heartwarming book. Set during World War 1, it is the story of those left behind when the men of England went off to fight in the war.

Alfie and his mother are in a bad situation. His mom is perennially worried about money and shortages and they are always making do, while Alfie worries about and misses his father terribly. After 2 years at war, he stops receiving letters from his father and begins to fear the worst. Until a miracle happens and he starts to hope.

The story as such is a very simple one and written in very simple language. The book is aimed at younger children I think. However, while the language is simple, the concepts are not.

This would be a good book for children who are already familiar with World War 1 and who know about the important events of the war already. They could then read this book to fill in the gaps in their knowledge and get a more holistic picture of the time.

A very good book to choose if you are looking for some quality reading material for your child. I recommend it highly for children grade 7-8 and above.

As an adult also, I found this book enjoyable. There is enough maturity in the subject matter that even adults can enjoy it. And finally, it was a pleasure to read a book about the war era that wasn’t downbeat.

This really is a wonderful little book about the power of love.

Huge thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me this book for review consideration.

You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon

12 Responses
  • Five-Eyed Bookworm
    February 11, 2014

    I was waiting for this review from you. I’d really love to read it some day! I love stories about family and love.

    • Nishita
      February 11, 2014

      @fiveeyedbookworm:disqus You will love this one, then. Bonus? it’s a quick and easy read 🙂

  • Love at First Book
    February 3, 2014

    This sounds like it would be a good YA book! I appreciate you clarifying the age level, too.

    Thank you for linking up to the Spread the Love Linky Party! Even though it’s my last week of hosting, April @ The Steadfast Reader will be taking over, which is super exciting! More info to come. . . 😀

    • Nishita
      February 4, 2014

      @LoveAtFirstBook:disqus Thanks for visiting and commenting :), I think it’s important to mention the age level for this book, as that is a little odd. The plot and style is for a child, but the topic of world war 1 is quite tough to handle. I am not sure what age children learn about the great war nowadays but it seems safe to recommend it for a grade 7-8 where children should be more mature to deal with the subject matter.

  • Isi
    February 2, 2014

    I still haven’t read anything by this author, but I’m interested in all of his books.
    Everybody agrees that his stories are good both for adults and childrend, and that they are moving; I have to see it for myself.

    • Nishita
      February 3, 2014

      @Isi This is the first book of his I’ve read and I liked it a lot. It is a simple and straight-forward read though so while I liked this book a lot, it’s not really meant for me. I liked this book but if you are looking for something complex and gripping, this isn’t for you.

  • readingtheend
    February 1, 2014

    Aw, I think it’s sweet that John Boyne does this sort of writing as well as his adult stuff. I’ll have to check it out!

    • Nishita
      February 1, 2014

      @readingtheend:disqus yeah. The book was a bit simplistic but still very sweet. Which adult books of his have you read? I thought he was predominantly YA

  • dreamzandclouds
    January 31, 2014

    I am adding this to my TBR….thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Nishita
      January 31, 2014

      @dreamzandclouds you’re welcome 🙂

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