Man Down by James Goodhand – Ultimate Blog Tour

A huge thanks to Dave and crew over at #TheWriteReads for organising this ultimate book tour and to James Goodhand, Penguin and Netgally for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Will Parks needs to man up.

A man stands. A man fights. A man bleeds.

These are the first lessons you learn in a town where girls are objects, words are weak and fists do the talking.

Will’s more at home in the classroom than the gym, and the most important woman in his life is his gran. So how can a boy who’s always backed away from a fight become the hero who saves the day?

Because a disaster is coming. One that Will can prevent. But only if he learns the most important lesson of all: sometimes to step up, you have to man down. A searingly powerful exploration of toxic masculinity, perfect for fans of Juno Dawson or They Both Die at the End.

Genre: YA Thriller/Drama
Length: 391 Pages
Publishing: 3rd March 2022

My Thoughts

Man down was one of those books where I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading.  Man Down is a novel that brings so many current issues into the light, with a strong focus on men, teens and mental health/societal expectations.  It makes uncomfortable reading at times and forces the reader to do some real introspection and thinking about their own thought processes. 

Will lives in a town that represents many towns in the UK currently.  Poverty is commonplace and people seem to hold some really toxic and old fashioned views.  Despite being a fictional place (I think), it’s very real. 

The main protagonist Will is a gentle, kind and hardworking young man.  This is shown through his thoughts, and the way he treats others – including his lovely gran.  His brother Danny is the complete opposite – despicable and really got under my skin.  I think it takes talent to write lovely sweet characters that people love, but immense talent to write a bad guy who makes your skin crawl with how awful they can be.  There is also the thought to be had around upbringing and environment and its impact of development and personality and the question is Danny to solely blame for himself is an important one (in my head anyway).

James Goodhand navigates the general world of teen angst really well, drawing attention to homophobia, toxic masculinity and societal expectations based around gender and he does it so well.  I’d love to think that there are teens out there reading this and fully identifying with will’s experiences.  And also teens reading this and realising they maybe need to change how they think and speak a little bit to their peers.

On top of the usual teen angst, Will is also seeing glimpses into the future and is being pulled towards a certain path – leading him to make a choice and discover what a true hero really is. 

This is such an emotional book, dark in places and not always comfortable reading but so well written and certainly highlights things that need to said to everyone.           

Author Bio – James Goodhand

James lives in Surrey with his wife and newborn son.

He took up writing three years ago. A mechanic by day, much of his work has been written at an oil stained workbench whilst ignoring a queue of broken cars in need of his attention.

James is also a keen musician, regularly gigging as a rhythm & blues pianist.

James’ debut YA novel, Last Lesson, tackling teen mental illness and toxic masculinity, was published in spring 2020 by Penguin Random House Children’s.

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