Check Mates


Felix says he can’t help what he says or the expressions on his face. They land him in constant trouble at school. He tries. He knows he has to focus. Yet somehow other worlds, especially interactive ones, or those created with his best friend, Jake, get into his head. They take away the pain of missing Grandma. They remove the chatter of teachers. Other worlds offer him space from worrying about home, and Mum and Dad’s working hours. HIs shouting out, irresponsiblity and funny expressions are amusing. Yet deep down, Felix is worried. He feels a failure.

Mum and Dad determine that an enforced spell with Grandad every day will help Felix. They might help Grandad too, for he’s withdrawn since Grandma died. Felix’s Grandad drives an embarrassing pink car. He watches German television and doesn’t open his curtains. Jake is convinced he’s a spy. Felix feels he fails his grandfather. Why on earth does Grandad consider he can teach Felix chess? Felix is hopeless! He doesn’t want to be there! Grandad shares nothing, offers nothing and expects everything. Felix can’t deliver what Grandad wants- the return of Grandma.

Stewart Foster has created a truly beautiful, empathetic, heartwarming novel. We tread every step with Felix AND Grandad,  ‘Check Mates‘. We long for a unification, for Felix’s light to shine and for Grandad’s pain to ease. Stewart Foster ‘feels’ his characters. We believe in their situations and experiences. Bookwagon is honoured to recommend and sell this superb title.


Check Mates

Stewart Foster

(Simon & Schuster)

Felix tries to control his impulses. Staring at walls, considering his actions, taking responsibility…. How can Felix stay out of trouble? He knows the isolation room like the back of his hand. He’s had ‘loads of tests’, loads of talks, yet somehow they just make him zone out. He heads into his PS4, into the realms of gaming, and imaginary battle zones, with Jake. When it all gets too much for his parents and school, could Grandad be the answer? Grandad of the  pink car, German television, closed curtains and mysterious past? Grandad who has decided he will teach Jake chess? How on earth could Jake and Grandad ever be ‘Check Mates’. 
Stewart Foster, award-winning writer of The Bubble Boy and All the Things that Could Go Wrong has created another stirring, heart warming, meaningful title in ‘Check Mates’. 


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