The class book review: The Disconnect

Could you give up your smartphone for six weeks? This suspense-filled novel looks at what happens when one teenager tries

Gill Ward

Class book review: The Disconnect by Keren David

The Disconnect

Author: Keren David
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Details: paperback, 224 pages, £7.99 
ISBN: 978-1781128558

Teacher review

The Disconnect is perfect for students who prefer a shorter, more accessible read, and Keren David has written a book that will appeal to older students. 

What I loved about the story is that the instant gratification of smartphones was not automatically derided. They, for example, mean that Esther can communicate with her father and sister in America quickly and easily. 

However, the possible mental health issues, peer pressure and bullying that arise from the addictive nature of social media are also cleverly explored. 

This book will make students think about not checking their phones every couple of minutes – the anxiety caused by FOMO is a real thing.

Gill Ward is senior librarian at Fortismere School, in North London

Pupil reviews

‘It made me want to try giving up my phone’

The novel is about a girl, Esther, who was given the opportunity to give up her phone for six weeks for a reward of £1,000 but faced multiple difficulties along the journey. 

Despite the book being fairly short, Keren David managed to fit in an incredibly suspenseful plotline without it seeming rushed or incomplete. She created a very captivating journey for Esther, giving more depth to the book rather than it being a simple hardship – giving up her phone – and then receiving an easy reward. I was very surprised at how intense and interesting such a seemingly straightforward plotline could be. 

Keren David did a very good job creating a backstory for Esther, which meant I became very attached to her. This doesn’t happen with many books. 

The characters were said in the book to be 16 but I personally saw the characters as 13 or 14, but that does not affect the plot or the quality of the book.

I would recommend The Disconnect to people aged around 12 to 15. The way it was written made me want to try giving up my phone as it seems like a great way to be more in touch with the real world.

Overall, I loved reading The Disconnect and I will definitely recommend it to some friends. 

Mabel Buxton, Year 8

‘Left me with lots of questions’

I thought that the book was unexpected, because at the end there was a big twist. 
I also enjoyed reading it because it left me with lots of questions I wanted answers to, so I would definitely love a sequel to be published. 

In addition, I found I could really get into the novel because of the time period, locations and characters. I thought the characters were very convincing, so if something was to happen to them the reader would be concerned. I definitely recommend this book to people my age or teenagers.

Hope Stacey, Year 7

‘Jumped into the action too quickly’

I liked the book The Disconnect because it really links to real life. I know a lot of people who always have their smartphones out and they are all addicted in my opinion. I liked how the book wasn’t just about the characters trying to cope without their mobiles for six weeks; they all had back stories, so we heard about their lives with and without smartphones.

One of the things I wasn’t keen on was that the book jumped into the action too quickly. I understand that’s because it is a small book, but I think the author could have started the main action later on.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Disconnect. I would recommend this book to any gender aged 11 to 15, because I feel that this age group could probably relate to it the most.

Lola Graham, Year 7

‘A short, simple read’

I think the opinions of the characters were very modern, which is a good way of creating relatable perspectives. 

Not owning a smartphone, I found it interesting to read about the effects on an obsessive user having to give theirs up for just six weeks. 

This book is a short and simple read: great for ages 9 to 15.

Isabella Alexander, Year 7

‘Should have been longer’

The book is about a challenge for pupils in a secondary school to come off their phones and all social media for six weeks. There is a prize of £1,000 for the winner. For emergencies, students are given an old-fashioned mobile phone that can just make calls.

The main character finds this really hard because some of her family live in America and they Skype weekly. She wants to win the money so she can go and see her family in America.

The book is dealing with modern-day social issues and is set in a secondary school, which allows the reader to empathise and relate to the setting.

The characters are introduced well and their personalities explored to make them believable, but the issues may be more of an older teenager problem and this age group (Year 7) may or may not want to read the book.

We felt we could relate to the main character and her situation. The author is trying to help us get involved in the book. It is good to talk about the issues used in the book, including: phone addiction and worrying about other people’s opinions of you. For non-uniform schools like ours this is very relevant. 

The author did not use a huge range of vocabulary: we understood it all and there were no challenges. This could make it a good, easy read for some people.

At times the lack of detail gave the book a rushed feel and we were left wanting to know more about the other characters and their feelings. We also felt that at the end the main character gave in too quickly and in real life she would have put up more of a fight against her accusers. It is good to talk about important topical issues, but a slightly longer book would allow the issues to be explored in more depth.

Willow Parmar-Wickham, Iole Hunter-Carver and Mrs B Kafka

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