In this one-off short story set in the Bitter Sixteen universe, everyone's favourite wise-cracking beagle Daryl gets a slightly more violent Christmas than he bargained for...
‘★★★★ This sparky debut puts the classic comic book origin story through the pop-cultural blender by gifting superpowers to a kid who just happens to be a massive sci-fi geek. For Smallville, substitute Tref-y-Celwyn, the mid-Welsh town where vowel-deficient teenage loner Stanly suddenly discovers a talent for flight and telekinesis. Accompanied by a potty-mouthed beagle (just go with it), Stanly up, ups and aways to London, where he throws his lot in with a bunch of Generation X-Men investigating a series of sinister child abductions. Zippy prose keeps the story barrelling along, the genre references come thick and fast (even the dog a Yoda impression does) and, in Stanly, Mohamed has created a hero you’ll really root for. A flying start.’ —Paul Kirkley, SFX Magazine
‘★★★★☆ Bitter Sixteen was an engaging, funny and heartwarming coming of age story that took tried-and-true tropes in new directions. Mohamed’s Stanly at first seems familiar: a geeky teen with few friends who is constantly bullied in school, discovers on his sixteenth birthday that he can levitate and move objects with only his mind. But Stanly has to work hard to figure out how to use his powers, which don’t come easily. Add in the bestest side-kick ever—a talking beagle named Daryl—and you have a winning combination for a story.’ — Tammy Sparks, Books Bones & Buffy
‘★★★★★ The plot is an absolute page turner – it is hard not to like Stanly, and Daryl (the talking dog) becomes an immediately likeable presence. The plot moves in a way that may seem relatively formulaic for those who have read a lot of Superhero tales, but the twists here are stonkingly big, and always surprising, making this a very fresh and original read. In addition, the villain is truly chilling – and one who I would love to see portrayed on screen.’ — Luke Marlow, The Book Bag
‘★★★★ If you know your Calrissian from your Kobayashi, then YA novel Bitter Sixteen is the most fun you can have in the superhero genre...’ —Aliya Whiteley, Den of Geek