Grass by Cathy MacPhail

Publishers’ blurb

It would have been hard to have missed what was written on the wall. Painted in giant whitewashed letters: ‘SHARKEY IS A GRASS’. I hadn’t a clue who Sharkey was, but I knew one thing. ‘Sharkey’s a dead man,’ I said.

Leo knows the value of never grassing and that you never grass on your friends. Everybody, too, knows the gang leaders in town. And you don’t grass on them. Not unless you don’t value your life – like Sharkey.

And then Leo is unlucky enough to witness the murder of one gang leader by another, a man called Armour. Leo is petrified as he realises what he is witnessing and even more petrified when he realises that Armour has seen him. Sure that he is drawing his own last breath, Leo silently says goodbye to his family and everybody he knows. But all Armour does is wink at Leo, very slowly, and leave the scene of the crime. Leo draws a long breath of relief. He has got away with it. But he hasn’t – not really.

Leo will live to regret that wink and realise that Armour has an insidious hold on him and his family, which will test his family relationships, and his very sense of what is right and wrong. It will take bravery, luck and sheer daring to extricate himself from Armour’s deadly web. A riveting and hard-hitting new novel from Cathy MacPhail.

Further information

Cathy MacPhail’s website

Cathy MacPhail page at Scottish Book Trust

Cathy MacPhail page at Lovereading4kids


19 comments on “Grass by Cathy MacPhail

  1. A story about honesty, bravery and friendship, “Grass” follows the story of Leo, struggling to do the right thing. Cathy MacPhail’s work is inspiring and “Grass” isn’t an exception, however is it good enough to be on shortlist? We’ll just have to wait and see…


  2. Another good read from what is proving to be an amazing longlist of novels for teenagers. Cathy MacPhail manages to capture the brutality of gang culture and how the innocent can,unwittingly, get caught up in the scene. Leo witnesses a brutal murder only to be seen by the perpetrator of the crime. In fear for the safety of his family, he becomes an errand boy for the gang leader, believing all the time that he is doing the right thing. Can Leo win back the trust of his family and friends and can he make everything all right? You’ll have to read the book to find out. You won’t be disappointed.

  3. i loved it and i think that it intrigued me because it has a lot of action and situations that could happen in real life xxx

  4. i thought the book was great because it was really interesting when the boy boy saw someone getting killed and he doesn’t want to tell anyone and he he keep it in his self

  5. i loved this book because it was intriguing and at most points of the book you can relate to the book. I was not disappointed with this novel it certianly will stick in my head forever. I could read it over and over it was that good.

  6. This book was enjoying to read. It made me want to keep reading on, I enjoyed the end of it as I wished it never ended. I think the best bit is when Leo [spoiler removed by editor] the gun and with the [spoiler removed by editor].


  7. Start was fairly slow but tension is built throughout the 2nd paragraph. I am now at page 62 and every page is pulling me closer to the story.
    I especially love the aspect that Leo is trying to survive in a town torn apart by gangs.

  8. I am at page 190 and am really enjoying the story. It took a huge turn and has only made it even more gripping, I love how determined Leo is to fix the town.

  9. Grass by Cathy MaCPhail is very cleverly written book and is very enjoyable. I think I enjoyed this book as it is set in Scotland and has close reference to many aspects of Scotland that I know of. It is a very interesting storyline and has many twists and turns along the way. It is different as it is written in first person and you can connect with the character’s feelings. The main character, Leo, is very easy to connect with as he is around my age and you can understand his train of thought. I also think that you can understand the point of view of Sean, Leo’s best friend, as he too is close to my age.
    I personally really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any of my friends. Although probably not an adult as they won’t feel the same connection with the characters as I do.

  10. “Grass” by Cathy Macphail is a good book. I enjoyed it and it didn’t take me long to read it. It is an intriguing book. I cant say much about it without revealing anything about it. All i can say is that you will probably love it.

  11. ‘Grass’ by Cathy McPhail is an intriguing read and very easy to relate to , this book shows how wrong situations can go and i enjoyed it alot out of 10 i would give it a 9. It showed how friendship and even family ties can be tested at a wrong decision x

  12. ‘Grass’ by Cathy Macphail is a gripping novel which leaves you dumbfounded by every sentence. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because i thought that it shows the reality of what could happen if you witness a murder. Leo knows the town too well to know to grass on anyone..especially one of the most feared gang leaders, but Leo has to make an important decision which could make or break him and his city! The gang leader, Armour, brainwashes Leo into thinking that he is actually a good guy..but Leo just doesn’t know what he’s getting into. I seem to feel Leo’s every movement through Cathy’s extremely descriptive words and it’s one of those books that you just cannot put down! A great well done to Cathy for her successful book and also for showing the young people of our generation that sometimes being a grass has it’s rewards!..

  13. Grass by Cathy Macphail is a fanatsic book and is very exciting. I particularly like that it was set in scotland and i understand certain aspects of this. The main character, Leo, is very easy to connect with and you can understand his feelings and thoughts.There is so many twist and turns. Leo is always struggling to make the right decision but in the end Leo saves the day. I personally reallu enjoyed reading this book and would recommend this book to all my friends.
    David H Clyde Valley High

  14. Grass was a great book. It started slow and built up as it went on into an action packed thriller. There was also emotion within the book telling us of Leo’s family life and how he and them coped with being associated with a major gangland criminal. It started off as a normal book with two best pals playing and then they turned against each other in a momment of truth. Cathy McPhail wrote this book really well and it was really intersting reading her book and hope to read more from her in the near future.
    Jack F, Clyde Valley High School

  15. ‘Grass’ by Cathy Macphail is a gripping novel which captivates you in a world of adventure and excitement. When a boy called Leo witnesses a murder by one of the gang leaders in town (Armour) he his life becomes a world of mysteries and lies. He doesn’t want to tell anyone, not even his best friend Sean because everyone knows ‘you don’t grass on the gang leaders’. Later in the book Armour tells Leo he will keep him safe if he becomes his boy. Leo even got a nickname: ‘Armour’s Boy’. The book is a good way to say that if you know something bad has happened you should go and tell. I congratulate Cathy Macphail on her riveting and hard-hitting novel.
    Clyde Valley High School

  16. Administrator’s note: this review includes spoilers

    fast paced, thriller, draws you in and doesnt let you go, even when you finish the book your minds racing on thinking about what will happen to the rest of leos life, will he live a quite peaceful life, or will the gang members hunt him down further after they get out of prison, loved this book, a worthy winner in my eyes !!!!

    Clyde Valley High School

  17. ‘grass’ is a great book. i am in the middle of reading it at the moment so far i am finding it very enjoyable and a great book. im looking forward to reading the rest of this novel and i cant wait to read what happens . good luck in the voteing i hope it does well.

  18. though i havent finished it yet grass is a great book about bravery and friendship

  19. absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope it never ends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! on page 90 and cant get enough of this book !!!!!!!!!!!!! love it!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.