Book Review

Gap Years – Dave Holwill

I am hopping on board the blog tour for Gap Years by Dave Holwill today. Many thanks to Dave, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part and for providing me with a copy of the book.


19 year old Sean hasn’t seen his father since he was twelve. His mother has never really explained why. An argument with her leads to his moving to the other side of the country.

Martin, his father, has his life thrown into turmoil when the son he hasn’t seen in nearly eight years strolls back into his life immediately killing his dog and hospitalising his step-daughter.

The one thing they have in common is the friendship of a girl called Rhiannon.

Over the course of one summer Sean experiences sexual awakenings from all angles, discovers the fleeting nature of friendship and learns to cope with rejection.

Martin, meanwhile, struggles to reconnect with Sean while trying to delicately turn down the increasingly inappropriate advances of a girl he sees as a surrogate daughter and keep a struggling marriage alive.

Gap Years is an exploration of what it means to be a man in the 21st Century seen from two very different perspectives – neatly hidden inside a funny story about bicycles, guitars and unrequited love.



Amazon UK


Let me start by saying that Gap Years has one of the strangest starts to a book that I have read in a long time. After just the first page, I was completely drawn in to Dave Holwill’s unique writing style. Come back on 21st to find out what I mean.

Gap Years covers a lot of subject matter that has the potential to be quite heavy – estranged families, confusion over sexuality, a struggling marriage, unwanted advances. However, it is filled with a dry wit that, at times, had me laughing out loud as Sean and Martin stumble through the minefield of modern life and emotional relationships in a way that only us Brits can. Honestly, I think 12 year old Melody is the most emotionally mature character in the book and I love her for that.

Gap Years is told from the alternating perspectives of Martin and Sean, and although they each have a very distinctive voice, it is easy to see that they are much more alike than either realises, or is prepared to admit. It is a real coming of age story for both characters (even though obviously Martin has been a “grown up” for many years), but without all the sickly sweet niceness that often comes out in books about teenagers turning to adulthood. Instead it is wonderfully awkward and entirely real. I loved every second of it.


Gap Years - AuthorHeadShotDave Holwill was born in Guildford in 1977 and quickly decided that he preferred the Westcountry – moving to Devon in 1983 (with some input from his parents).
After an expensive (and possibly wasted) education there, he has worked variously as a postman, a framer, and a print department manager (though if you are the only person in the department then can you really be called a manager?) all whilst continuing to play in every kind of band imaginable on most instruments you can think of.
Gap Years is his third novel – following on the heels of Weekend Rockstars and The Craft Room, and he is currently working on the fourth (a folk horror set in his native mid-Devon) and a sequel to Weekend Rockstars.








Make sure you pay a visit to the other blogs taking part on the tour, and remember to pop back here on 21st February, when I will be sharing an extract from the book.

Gap Years Full Tour Banner

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