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The Humiliations of Welton Blake

Welton Blake has done it – he’s asked out Carmella McKenzie, the best looking girl in school, and she’s only gone and said yes! But just as he thinks his luck, and life, is starting to change, Welton’s phone breaks, kickstarting a series of unfortunate and humiliating events. Life for Welton is about to go very, very wrong …

Hilarity follows disaster in this laugh-out-loud tale from Alex Wheatle, renowned for his wit and incomparable use of language. Aimed at a younger audience than Wheatle’s usual fare, this is a light-hearted tribute to teen life with a brilliantly relatable protagonist and bound to appeal to the early high school reader.


Barrington Stoke (World English rights)

Humiliations of Welton Blake-Alex Wheatl


‘A sharp-witted, lighter look at life’ Bookseller Previews

‘What a book! Alex Wheatle’s writing buzzes with energy and captures twelve-and-a-half-year-old Welton’s experience of being in love in all its heart-pounding, stomach-flipping, confusing giddiness alongside a run of seriously bad luck … confirms the author’s status as a writer of huge talent, with the ability to infuse all genres with a special kind of magic … Fresh, funny and authentic, readers will truly root for Welton – while he’s one of a kind, his voice and experiences will resonant far and wide. What’s more, being published by Barrington Stoke, this zesty page-turner is highly readable.’  Lovereading's January 2021 Book of the Month

‘This book is laugh out loud funny with perfect comic timing – masterfully written by Alex Wheatle, it manages to combine hilarious slapstick with a moving story about the trails of navigating teen life. Barrington Stoke’s dyslexic friendly font makes this book suitable for young teens who may not have previously been attracted to reading a whole book for pleasure. Great for readers who might have loved Liz Pichon’s Tom Gates, and hopefully a gateway to Alex Wheatle’s brilliant Crongton series.’

'I am going to be telling EVERYONE about The Humiliations of Welton Blake. Out in Jan, ‘super readable’ is spot on. And it is so real and so funny and joyous, my jaw hurts from smiling! Brilliance from @brixtonbard & @BarringtonStoke!'  @RashmiWriting

‘A sneak peek at what it’s like to be a teenager … I thought Welton was the perfect example of a teen boy full of life’s possibilities, his uncertainty of whether he would charm his dream girl makes for fun reading … On the whole, the story is interesting, the lead character endearing and the ending isn’t the one I expected which made for a better read overall.’

‘intrigued me from the start … This is a light-hearted novel for teenagers who can sympathise with Welton and can relate to him as he goes through a mixture of emotions … sets a hilarious plot for readers to enjoy reading. Whilst reading this I found myself constantly wanting to come back to read the book rather than do other things. Based on the current climate this is a great book for anyone that needs a bit of laughter or cheering up. With me saying all that I have about this book and its light-hearted humour I still found that the storyline was complex enough to keep a reader constantly on their toes … a fantastically entertaining storyline yet still manages to maintain comical parts so that eventually it has the happy ending that we associate with a satisfactory conclusion. This book also proves size does not matter, as yes – it looks short, and yes – it is short, but there is plenty of context making it an enjoyable story for readers.’ Kid’s review

‘Both hilarious and witty … I can already tell that this is going to be extremely popular. Poor Welton’s daily goings on read like an ongoing episode of Eastenders but despite all of the set backs he remains positive and upbeat, adding in some funny star wars references too. I admired his ability to retain a sense of positivity … With short, speedy chapters, it makes for an easy read, an ideal crossover for younger readers who are switching to longer, chaptered books. The Humiliations of Welton Blake is a refreshing read.’

‘Told from the first-person perspective of the aforementioned protagonist, The Humiliations of Welton Blake covers, with a knowing warmth and sharp wit, those initial, awkwardly paranoid steps that many of us take when exploring those tentative first-love relationships at secondary school. Laugh-out-loud funny from the get-go, Wheatle displays a mastery in both voice and style when it comes to depicting current teenage society and culture. The author E.B. White has spoken about writing ‘up’ not ‘down’ to children but what happens when you write ‘to’ them? That’s what Wheatle has achieved here, finding both a voice and narrative for his readers that is ‘fresh’, ‘engaging’ and ‘entertaining’. In a little over 130 pages, The Humiliations of Welton Blake is awash with cultural references that will humorously resonate with its readership. From Star Wars to Fast & Furious, Lord of the Rings to Call of Duty, Welton reimagines his successes and failures, solutions and problems through popular cultural icons and his internal ‘Yoda be merciful!’, ‘Are you a mouse or a Jedi’ are as funny as the insults his peers pay him for at school. Presented in Barrington Stoke’s ever-welcome and accessible dyslexia-friendly format, The Humiliations of Welton Blake will appeal to its 12+ readers on so many levels. Its humorously astute insight into secondary school life alongside the dazed and confused experiences that come with falling hard for that first relationship make for a highly entertaining read. It is easy to see why Wheatle was awarded an MBE for his services to literature. There is no meandering prose here: it’s a sharp-beat of a voice that is as fresh and as hip as is it awash with pop-cultural charm. The Humiliations of Welton Blake not only riffs with a cultural and lexical discourse of today’s youth but it also speaks for and an audience who will have long been crying out for more voices like theirs for a very long time.’

‘A typical lad experiencing the ups and downs of family and secondary-school life in all its embarrassing, confusing and – at times – riotous glory, Welton offers us the full guided tour: from the frustrations of a broken phone while trying to set up a date, through dealing with the school bullies (‘Tax for the Chancellor, Blakey!”), to his first, incredibly awkward – and slightly disgusting – kiss. Despite the fact that 95% of the novel follows one disastrous event after another (and there’s no shilly-shallying around at the start – we’re straight into ‘the humiliations’!) there’s a glorious happy ending. And that’s just so perfect, of course: the ultimate joy of reading this book is very much wrapped up in its cliff hanger chapters, the awful villains, the hapless hero – in fact, all those traditional tropes that make for a really pleasurable read, and that includes the perfect happy ending. The style of the book is incredibly pacy, like the best of comic-books; nothing is laboured, the jokes are blink-and-you’ve-missed-it, whip crack sharp; the emotional tensions are masterfully handled with the most telling but lightest of touches; the ending might be the one we’ve all hoped for throughout, but there’s no let-down and certainly any sentimentality is kept far at bay. The dramas and large-as-life characters might remind teachers (of a certain age!) of a modern-day Grange Hill, though there are far more laughs to be had and, as with the best of humorous writing, the jokes are often a foil to revelations of more tender sensitivities … If I were a secondary kid nowadays, I’d look forward hugely to hearing from this book each day in form time: I can very easily imagine the laughs throughout (and the reflective silence that would follow the end of one chapter in particular) accompanying a read-aloud to today’s teenage audience. Boys and girls alike from Years 7 – 9 especially will completely love this book and I envy the form-tutor who gets to share this book with their classes. Barrington Stoke has done it again – I’m quite gobsmacked by the sheer class of writing they’re producing at the moment for this tricky early-teen market of readers! It’s an absolute, hands-down winner in my book. More please, Mr Wheatle, MUCH more!’

‘Alex Wheatle’s latest teenage comedy for Barrington Stoke is pretty much guaranteed to make its target audience snort with laughter … This is a richly drawn comedy of teenage angst that has just enough gross-out detail to appeal to that age group and – most importantly – doesn’t feel at all patronising. Welton is a sort of everyman figure who embodies the feelings you have at that age when everything is either triumph or disaster and that unsettling sense that the whole world is against you and conspiring to make your life a series of terminal embarrassments. Great fun and guided by Barrington Stoke for readers of 9+ – although I think it will be popular with early teens too.’

‘We couldn’t put this down! … What we love about this story is that (apart from the constant Star Wars and superhero metaphors/references throughout!!) however humiliating Blakey’s experiences might be, he picks himself back up, he rides it out no matter how painful, he’s brave, and his heart is in the right place. This book will have you cringing and giggling at the same time from start to finish!! Highly readable. Very enjoyable. Heart-warming. Loved it!’  Moon Lane reviews

‘This is the first book I’ve read by award-winning author Alex Wheatle – and I can see why he’s so highly praised and popular. He looks at teenage life, relationships, and problems in a funny but sympathetic way (sort of like Netflix’s Sex Education but for a younger audience) … Published by Barrington Stoke, it has all of their hallmarks – dyslexic-friendly print and page colour, and simple straightforward language, which moves the story along instead of snaring the reader with unfamiliar words. It’s an excellent short book for any teens (though particularly boys) who might think “they don’t write books about folks like me”.’

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