The Turndog Review: Starter for Ten





Hello there and welcome to The Turndog Review: the books I read, reviewed.

I aren’t a professional critic, instead all I offer is my honest opinion into everything I read. However, I do this with a difference, as I don’t only offer my personal views on the Writing, Plot, and Story, but also the Book Cover, Book Marketing, and Author Website.

We live in a modern world where being a writer is different to years gone by, and I feel the whole experience of the book matters. This covers everything from the initial find, the actual read, and everything that follows. Therefore I hope this review not only offers a great insight into the book and author, but also into my own mind and what makes me tick.

So without further ado let’s begin, and today I focus on Starter For Ten by David Nicholls

Published: 2003

Read: February 2012

Discovered: A Follow on after reading ‘One Day’ by David Nicholl



I read Starter For Ten during January 2012, and think I had the whole thing done in around five sessions. It’s easy going and fast paced, and if I had a particular go to genre, I would say this is it.

The plot surrounds Brian Jackson, a very smart young man and his journey into University. He’s awkward and horny, and totally under prepared for life. He’s a verging genius, but is he capable of applying himself in a world where there’s beer, and girls, and all the things young adults go through?

Oh, and he also loves University Challenge, and he feels as though he needs to go on in honour of his late father. Overall it’s an everyday book I feel most people can relate to, I know I can.

Is it great writing? No, I wouldn’t say it is.

Is it an Amazing plot or story? Again, I’d say not.

Is it better than the majority of things out there? Personally I’d say yes.


The Good:

I think Brian Jackson is the biggest positive in this story. I feel David Nicholls has created a very relatable character that most people can emphasise with. He’s also surrounded by a whole host of relatable characters, and overall each page is full of scenarios I could imagine myself in.

I also love the pace of the story. As I say, this isn’t Shakespeare, merely a story we can all relate to. If I want to curl up with a book at the end of a night then this is the sort of story I turn to.


The Bad:

I feel the main drawback is how it becomes stilted at times. Not in terms of the writing, rather the story. There are certain points where you wonder off, and begin questioning its importance.

This isn’t the end of the world though, and let’s face it, most books are filled with scenes which purpose is to move you to a more important part of the book. Is this right, no, probably not? I also wouldn’t say it makes a good book bad, but hey, that’s just my opinion.


Book Cover:

I love this cover. As I’ve said before, I really like the use of silhouettes in book covers, and this one tells a great story in such a simple manner. The name of the book plays on the popularity of University Challenge, and this cover extends that.

I also like the colours, which are charming, and the clear and large – yet still somewhat playful – text. It’s a great overall cover and is very appealing both as an Ebook and it’s more physical cousin.

 Starter For Ten cover


Book Marketing:

Like with so many big time books, I feel the marketing within the pages is weak and lazy. I read the Ebook version, and as such, adding some links is an easy thing to do. Why publishers still avoid this is beyond me.

There’s no link to David Nichol’s website, not is there calls to action for his other books or projects. There isn’t even a review for One Day or The Understudy, and I feel cross selling could easily be made with some very simple communication.

Overall, very disappointing.


Author Website & Engagement:

David’s website is very nice and gives you all the information you’ll ever need. It’s simple – which is good – and functional – which is better – and overall a very nice website.

His engagement is poor though, at least online, and there is no Blog or place for fans to interact with him. He’s a busy boy, so it is hard, but I do place a great deal of importance in engagement so I it pains me to see good authors not doing it.

Again, a little disappointing.


Overall I’m a fan of David Nicholls. I relate to his style, and I feel I’m a similar kind of writer. I also like Starter For Ten, a book I was happy to keep reading and am happy to recommend. It’s a solid 4/5 in my opinion, but I don’t focus entirely on the writing as I said earlier.

Everything else is a let down and simply lazy. It’s because of this I give Starter For Ten…

                3 Turndogs out of 5 


Thanks for reading this version of The Turndog Review. I review every book I read, not only for the writing, but the marketing, website, and general communication from the author.

Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million

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