Today I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on the tour for this brilliant YA book with an interesting time travelling twist which I just couldn’t put down!  My review is below and you can read it in a moment but first I’d just like to say a big thank you to The Write Reads for the chance to be a part of this tour and for a copy of this book. 🙂 Please also do check out the other stops on the blog tour!

Title: The Other Side of the Whale Road
Author: K. A. Hayton
Publisher: Lightning Books
Genre: Young adult/teen fiction, Contemporary, Historical, Fantasy/Sci-fi (time travel)
Book format: Digital
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Description: The Vikings are better armed than we are. They have long, heavy axes that can take a man’s head from his shoulder. I know this because I see it happen’
When his mum burns down their house on the Whitehorse estate, sixteen-year-old Joss is sent to live in a sleepy Suffolk village.
The place is steeped in history, as Joss learns when a bike accident pitches him back more than 1,000 years to an Anglo-Saxon village. That history also tells him his new friends are in mortal peril from bloodthirsty invaders. Can he warn their ruler, King Edmund, in time?
And will he ever get home?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is an interesting story with a time travelling twist.  When Joss’s mum accidently burns down their house, Joss is sent to live with foster parents in the small village of Hoxne in Suffolk.  While there he struggles to fit in with the posh school children and gets into trouble on his first day at school.  Fed up he goes on a bike ride, but his ride soon results in an accident, one which ends up taking him back in time to the year 869, to the Anglo-Saxon village of Haegelisdun.

I really enjoyed getting into this story and it was compelling from the start.  While Joss is staying at Hoxne he ends up struggling to get along with the kids at his school as well as some of his teachers.  With his mum struggling to be a good parent, and the threat that Joss and his sisters might end up in care permanently he finds it hard to deal with everything going on in his life and ends up accidently getting into trouble with some of the kids at his new school.  I felt for Joss’s character right away and I liked how despite everything that had happened to him and the way his mum is, that Joss is a strong character and doesn’t want to end up going down the stereotypical route that so many teens end up in.

While the book has a good contemporary story it’s when Joss ends up accidently travelling back in time that I really began to enjoy this so much more.  I love historical fiction, especially the very early medieval period so I just loved what happened and how Joss ends up getting involved with everyone at Haegelisdun.  Joss’s arrival in the village in the year 869 happens close to a key event in history which made this so interesting to read as I hadn’t heard about this particular event in the past before.  I love how this story showed what happened to Joss both in the past and present and while some books featuring time travel have a plot with the majority of the story taking place one time in the past, I like how in this story the past is visited more than once.

I won’t reveal what happens as it’s such an interesting read and I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s a good story with characters I enjoyed, like Merwenna and Leofric, and I like how things went overall in the story for all of the characters.  I like how the historical events play out, and how ultimately Joss grows as a character with what happens at the end.  The ending is a satisfying one, with Joss growing as a person and the whole book just feels like a good coming-of-age story.

Although I enjoyed this book and what happens I did feel like there was a bit of stereotyping when it came to some things, like even the type of name for Joss’s mother, for example  as well as a few other issues, but these didn’t stop me from enjoying the story and I was surprised with just how much I got into this book and how well it was written that I couldn’t put it down!  The story does have a few uses of the f and s swear words as well as a few descriptions towards the end of death and blood which were a little more gory although not too bad compared to some of the  historical fiction books I’ve read of the same time period.  Each chapter begins with a word or phrase in Old Norse or Old English with a translation of what it means which I did enjoy, especially as there were literal translations too.

Overall this book was a good read.  It was so compelling I read almost the whole book in one day, only stopping because real life got in the way!  I like what happens to Joss and the historical time travelling that happened.  I’ve read YA books with stories about going back in time before but this one was very unique and different and I just love what ends up happening to both Joss and the other characters.  I’d definitely recommend this book to both fans of a good coming-of-age story as well as any historical fiction lovers as it’s definitely a good and interesting read!

Buy the book

The Other Side of the Whale Road book cover

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About the Author

K A Hayton author pic

K. A. Hayton was born in Lincolnshire and read English at Sheffield University. She lives in Suffolk with her husband and has two daughters. The idea for The Other Side of the Whale Road came from her study of old English poetry at university, and from living in a place where Anglo-Saxon history feels very close.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my stop on the blog tour for this great and interesting book 🙂  Please don’t forget to check out the other stop os this tour and The Other side of the Whale Road is out now in digital and will be abvailable in paperback on 2nd September 2021 (soon!).


What do you think of this book?  Do you like historical fiction or coming-of-age stories?  What about stories featuring time travel?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂