Stay Where You Are And Then Leave


How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Random House Children’s Publishers UK


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 realises 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 . . .


I thoroughly enjoyed this latest offering from the fantastic John Boyne. I’ve read three of John’s books now and enjoyed each one, so I was happy to be approved for this book. Especially after hearing the publishers rave about it at the Random House blogger’s brunch in the summer.

I automatically feel sad when I read books about the first and second world wars. These times were just so horrific and I find it incredibly hard to understand what went on. It’s so tough to read about everyone that suffered so we could have the freedom we have now. I think it’s always important to read these sorts of books, so we never forget about those that fought for us.

I’ve read The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas which John Boyne is probably best known for. It’s a bestseller, and definitely a book that I think everyone should read. It’s incredibly powerful. It’s also about the war. John Boyne certainly knows how to write about our World Wars beautifully. Stay Where You Are and Then Leave is about a little boy called Alfie. On Alfie’s fifth birthday the first World War is announced. Alfie’s father signs up. Alfie’s family life completely changes as a result of this. His mum, Margie, works long hours and every hour she can. Alfie takes on a job shining shoes at King’s Cross Station (at the age of 9). All Alfie wants is for the war to be over and his father to be at home, so their lives can return to normal again.

Shell shock features in this book. I like how it was approached. I think a lot of children reading this (and adults too) will learn a lot from it. Shell shock was often seen as cowardice and a way to get out of the war. I think Stay Where You Are and Then Leave has some important educational messages. It teaches children about the war and the effect it had on soldiers, the families and the communities.

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave is so well written, much like John Boyne’s other books. Although it is aimed at younger readers, I think it’s a book that any reader would enjoy. It’s a book that I would like to see studied to the curriculum at secondary school (high school) age.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

Reading next:
Clockwise- Ellie Strauss

5 thoughts on “Stay Where You Are And Then Leave

  1. Another great review! I cannot wait to read this – I LOVED John Boyne’s Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, seriously one of my favorites. And now I have to ask, which others have you read by him? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve only read Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and now I want to change that…

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