A mysterious crime, a different detective

An evocative and compelling debut for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2015, longlisted for the 2015 Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups 2016, Kim Slater’s outstanding debut, Smart, is moving and compelling novel with a loveable character at its heart.

‘I found Jean’s friend dead in the river. His name was Colin Kirk. He was a homeless man, but he still wanted to live.’

There’s been a murder, but the police don’t care. It was only a homeless old man after all.

Kieran cares. He’s made a promise, and when you say something out loud, that means you’re going to do it, for real. He’s going to find out what really happened. To Colin. And to his grandma, who just stopped coming round one day. It’s a good job Kieran’s a master of observation, and knows all the detective tricks of the trade.

But being a detective is difficult when you’re Kieran Woods. When you’re amazing at drawing but terrible at fitting in. And when there are dangerous secrets everywhere, not just outside, but under your own roof.

‘Smart’ is WINNER of:

Leeds Book Award 2015, St Helen’s Book Award (BASH) 2015, East Midlands Book Award (Geoffrey Trease Prize) 2015, Tower Hamlets Book Award 2015

Brilliant Book Award 2016, 1066 Schools Book Award 2016

‘Smart’ has been nominated for twenty-two UK book awards plus the prestigious Orbil Prize 2016 in Italy:


The FCBG’s Children’s Book Award, Girls’ Day School Book of the Year, The Orbil Prize (Italy), The Grampian Book Award, The Weald Book Award, Brilliant Book Award, Bolton Book Award, Portsmouth Book Award, Warwickshire Secondary Book Award, Hounslow Teen Read, ‘Spellbinding’ Cumbrian Schools’ Book Award, New Horizons Dorset Book Award, 1066 Schools Book Award


Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Carnegie Medal, East Midlands Book Award, St Helen’s Book Award (BASH), Leeds Book Award, Shropshire Teen Book Award, Worcestershire Teen Book Award, Stockport Book Award, Tower Hamlets Book Award

Book details

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Format: Paperback and e-book
ISBN: 9781447236672

Reviews of Smart

"There is no simple way to say this… I ADORED this book."

Charlotte Reads Things

"Debut novels don’t come much smarter than Smart [...] Beautifully observed, and written straight from a child’s mind and heart, Smart is an evocative, compelling story from a new and talented author."

Lancashire Evening Post

"It's a story that's both heartbreaking and warm at the same time, and it sensitively handles many dark themes; drugs, poverty, homelessness, alcoholism, domestic violence and abusive relationships."

My Thoughts about Books

"A remarkable first novel."


"Smart tackles many issues very relevant to today’s society. Domestic violence, drug trafficking, homelessness, bullying and Autism are all major subjects, making this an interesting book to discuss with young adults. While there is much hope here, ultimately it is a very troubling novel; I think older readers looking to move away from the popular, other-worldly books filling the shelves at the moment will find this a thought-provoking read. For ages 14 and up."


"I think fans of thoughtful contemporaries will be really impressed by this debut. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Kim Slater!"

The Bookbag

Smart image gallery