Book of the Month: Sonny and Me
Fourth Year. Two Pals. One Murder. Welcome to Battlefield High…
‘Whoever said yer school days are the best days ae yer life was at the absolute wind up. I hink maist adults dinnae mind whit it was really like. Wait til yeese hear whit Sonny and me got detention for…’
Sonny and Billy Daughter are two best friends just trying to get through fourth year at high school. But when their favourite teacher leaves unexpectedly, and no one will say why, the boys decide to start their own investigation.
As they dig deeper into the staff at Battlefield High, they discover a dark secret which one person will kill to protect… Will they uncover the truth without being expelled? Can their friendship survive when personal secrets are revealed?
One of the best things about Sayers’ writing is the Scots; its honesty will draw you in and make you laugh. This is a joyous book that manages to sneak in discussions on darker themes, such as teachers turning a blind eye as Sonny is bullied for being gay. It feels painfully unfair at times, but is balanced by the heart-tugging friendship of the two; as Billy says: “I like tae hink ae myself as part ae his family, and him part ae mine.”
Sonny and Me by Ross Sayers will take you on a wee nostalgia ride if you’re a young(ish) adult or ring true right now if you’re still a high schooler. This is part a touching story about the kind of friends everyone needs during teenage years, and part murder mystery that truly balances the Nancy Drew sleuth feel – but in Scots!
Q&A with Ross Sayers
Who are Sonny and Billy based on?
Billy is a bit of an amalgamation of a lot of different folk I knew at school; the boy who fancies the girl he's too scared to talk to, the boy who's like an old man trapped in a young man's body, the boy who's already worrying about what he's going to do with the rest of his life when he leaves school. Come to think of it, all those describe me in high school. Has Billy been me this whole time? I'm going to need some time to come to grips with this revelation...
Sonny isn't based on anyone in particular, but his name kind of gives away his character. He's a ray of sunshine really, like a golden retriever in human form. I wish I was more like Sonny to be honest.
What’s the significance of Spot?
Sonny wears a Spot the Dog necklace throughout the book and gets teased for it. It represents something important to him (I believe this is what the cool kids call 'symbolism') and acts as a reminder. There's only one way to find out what it represents though...give me a fiver...(or read the book, either is fine).
What’s it like writing in Scots?
I really enjoy it. It's important to be consistent, so best thing to do before you start is to work out which words/spellings you're going to stick with (eg can't, cannae or canny. For, fir or fur. Do you like 'is' the way it is or are you more of an 'iz' person?). Once you've decided that, you're off to the races. I find there's loads of humour to be had with Scots words and phrases and it definitely makes the characters more realistic.