Blood Donors – Steve Tasane

“Monday mornin’ first lesson a bedbug crawls right outta my ear and down my neck. 
I’m already sore at my boy Mustaph cos he don’t ever do nothin’ but sleep, see? I think he’s suffering from bein’ sad, cos he spend half his life in bed, and it all wrong cos we be fifteen which is the primetime, yeah? We be hittin’ on girls and playin’ our beats and footie and crazy stuff on computer, but only if ol’ Mustaph can drag his dozy head out from under his duvet – that boy win Olympic Gold for sleepin’.”

It all starts when a bug crawls out of Marshals ear, the event triggers the start of things. Marshall is excluded from school temporarily and has to spend more time at home, in The Finger, but his home doesn’t feel right anymore. People in The Finger are dying and there’s something odd about them. They are all dying with looks of terror on their faces but Marshal and his mates are the only ones who believe something other than drugs is at play in the tower block, something that involves the bugs that have been plaguing the place for months maybe? 
***
In all honesty Blood Donors is without doubt the most disgusting book I have ever read, but that’s what makes it so good! 
The main story is about killer bedbugs which are disgusting and scary, but that said here is so much more to Blood Donors than that. The bugs add some element of terror but there is such a reality in the book that its scary. There is a social undertone to this book that may not be picked up by some readers. The idea that people who are in the situations that Marshal’s family are in do not deserve any better than a scummy place like The Finger to live and that Marshal shouldn’t be believed because he has anger issues and because of his past; it made me angry. He is not his father and it shouldn’t be assumed that he will turn out the same as his father just because of the place he lives. This is the real focus of the story and Marshal proves his worth by the way he deals with the Bedbugs, its an incredible story because of this. 
The writing took some getting used to because it was all written as if Marshal was telling the story out loud. His voice took some getting used to and the speech was illustrated through italics rather than speech marks which was a little confusing at times. The font was unusual too and some words appeared to have spaces in between them which also goat bit confusing. This is probably where the book fell down slightly for me because I had to go back and reread a fair bit of it to make sure I had read that sentence right and work out who was speaking at what point and which bit of the text was the actual speech. I can image that it would be even worse for a more reluctant reader which is a shame because I think the story needs to be read by as many teens as possible. 
Overal I really enjoyed the book, it caused a fair amount of itching on my part and I really didn’t want to read it before bed but thats just a sign of a brilliant book more than anything else and I think a lot of teens will enjoy Blood Donors just as much as I did. It shows a side of life that is quite under-represented and a real life problem, even if it is slightly over-emphasised in some ways. 
Blood Donors was published on October 3rd by Walker Children’s Books. My copy was given as a gift at the Walker books Roadshow. 

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  • Hi Raimy, thanks for this terrific review! I’m glad you got so much social/emotional message from the book as well the splatter stuff.
    Sorry about the gaps in words p- this was a layout error in your proof copy – the ones that are in the shops are all perfect, and much easier to follow!