No Strings, by Krista Bell

He might be only thirteen, but Felix is a brilliant saxophonist. Attending a workshop with the best saxophonist in the world should be an inspiration for him, but it isn’t. Suddenly Felix is wondering if he really has the ability to be a world-class musician.

Felix has other worries too. Filling out a passport application has reminded him that he has two surnames – and two families. His parents divroced when he was a baby and he has two sets of parents and two sets of siblings. Now he’s wondering if he really belongs in either family. Is he really wanted?

Things seem likely to spiral out of control when Felix learns that his dad has been in a serious accident. This could be the beginning of the end, but instead it allows Felix to start building a fresh perspective. When his bullying room mate at boarding school assaults him, Felix realises that it is the bully’s regular attacks which have gradually eroded his self-confidence and allowed these other doubts to creep in. Dealing with the bully is the first step in getting his life into some sort of order. After that, the sky is the limit.

No Strings is a moving story with messages about bullying, friendship and the importance of family. Most of all, though, it is about self-belief. Felix learns to believe in himslef but also to allow those around him to offer him help and support.

Krista Bell has a lifetime of experience with children’s books as a book store owner, reviewer and author. This shows through in her skilful rendering of a tale which is compassionate, humorous and real, all in the right measure.


No Strings, by Krista Bell
Lothian, 2004