Class book review: Wink

This account of cancer – based on the author's experiences – made our reviewers cry, laugh and keep turning the pages

Gill Ward

Class book review: Wink by Rob Harrell


Author: Rob Harrell
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Details: 320pp, £7.99
ISBN: 978-1471409141

Teacher review

Wink is a book of tragedy, humour, music and hope. The characters and emotions are perfectly believable, and this is a great book for promoting empathy

Lovers of Wonder by Raquel Jaramillo and The Best Medicine (Christine Hamill’s Laugh Out Loud Book Award winner) will adore this page-turner. 

It’s written with heart and obvious knowledge of mucoepidermoid carcinomas of the lacrimal gland – eye cancer. I’d recommend it for Years 4 to 8.

Gill Ward is senior librarian at Fortismere School, London. She tweets as @fortislibbie

Pupil reviews

‘For anyone who loves laughing and crying at the same time’

I enjoyed reading Wink by Rob Harrell. I loved the humour in the book and how the story was based on his own experience. 

My favourite character is Ross, because he was so brave, and I thought one of the best bits was when he had to pick a hat. 

I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves laughing and crying at the same time; every word and every page was great.

Esther Ortega, Year 7

‘I loved every page’

I loved reading Wink. I guarantee you will smile and enjoy this book. The author, Rob Harrell, created a potion to keep me reading to the end. 

Ross is relatable, being an ordinary kid, yet his experiences are well beyond what I could imagine. 

The book shows us that everyone is different, with different lives and problems. 

Wink is a fabulous book, and I loved every plotline, every smile, every page and every wink!

Hannah Stone, Year 7

‘A difficult book to read’

Wink has a funny outer layer of friendship and jokes, but in the centre it’s a difficult book to read as it’s about the reality of someone facing a life-threatening disease. 

It is brilliantly written.

Isabella Alexander, Year 8

‘Sad and happy, all in one book’

This story was sad, but happy all in one book. I found that you could really feel like you were in the story, as I thought it described the setting well. You could picture it in your mind. 

The illustrations were amazing, especially the comic ones. My favourite part was when Isaac became friends with Ross. 

An amazing book, as the author had a similar condition, so you could really empathise with the boy.

Ella Ashdown, Year 7

‘It felt like it was happening to someone I know’

As I read Wink, I began to cry. Although the way the book is written is not formal, every bad thing that happened to Ross felt like it was happening to someone I knew. 

Added to this was the fact that the author also experienced this hardship; this is reflected in Ross. The treatments, the gloop, the hat. All of it sounds so difficult to cope with. However, the jokes, drawings and batpig adventures really lifted my spirits. Without these, the book would be far from enjoyable. But with these fun additions, Wink is one of my favourite books to read. 

I wish every chapter was longer. When I reached the end I wished to read it all over again – every joke, every tear. Wink is AMAZING!

Isabel Spyrou, Year 7

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