Action-packed darts novel, Nell Mace-David
James T. Guthrie
June 22, 2021
“The crowd had gone silent.
She threw the dart.
It hit the target.”
Bella Kerr loves darts. She’s good at it too. Some people call her a prodigy, others call her a “little girl”. But whatever she is, she isn’t going to back down. In Bullseye Bella by James T. Guthrie, Bella is a 12-year-old darts player. She’s been playing since she was five, when her Dad first put some darts in her hand (not proper ones of course), and hasn’t stopped since. Playing darts connects her to her father, who left long ago. For whatever reason, she kept playing, and she has come to love it.
One day, Bella discovers that her brother’s special school is asking for more money; money that they don’t have. Her mother, a meteorologist (definitely not someone who studies meteors, she studies the weather) is already working night shifts and she has a lot on her mind. Bella doesn’t want her mum to be stressed more than she already is, so she comes up with her own solution to the money problem. The upcoming darts tournament at the local pub with money up for grabs? Perfect. Okay, maybe her first visit doesn’t go so well, but who is she to just give up like that?
So she goes back. I’ll leave you to find out how that goes. She earns herself a place in the nationals, though she may not know it at first. There is a bit of trouble and she ends up quitting darts and not entering. After finding an unexpected friend in her previous opponent she decides against quitting, which ends up being very short-term. But then she starts to get suspicious. Did champion darts player Frankie Phillips really forget to give her the entry form, or was it intentional? Is someone jealous of her talent and trying to get her out of the nationals?
Bullseye Bella is an action-packed, fast-paced novel. It is a captivating read about a girl who loves to play darts. I loved this theme because it shows a strong female character, who participates in a sport where women and girls are not usually seen. Something is always happening, and sometimes you don’t know what is going to happen next. It is very relatable, and you feel for the characters until you finish reading the last page. Though understandable, you do have to have some knowledge of darts to know what is happening during some parts.
Personally, I loved Bullseye Bella and am definitely going to read it again in the future. I feel it is a valuable addition to my book-shelf. It absolutely deserves the Tom Fitzgibbon Award which it was awarded in 2019. The award recognises outstanding contributions to children’s literature in NZ, and this book definitely earned it.
I would recommend this book to anyone 8–14 years or just for anyone who loves a good action or adventure book that is funny and good-hearted. I hope that you go on to read this book, and enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!
- Nell Mace-David is 12, homeschooled, and lives in Dunedin.