Steady for This

Nathanael Lessore

Bonnier Books UK (11+) 9781471413223 (Paperback)

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A hilarious story with laugh-out-loud moments.  Wannabe rapper Shaun, aka MC Growls, takes part in a live-stream performance intended to platform him and his friends during an MC Battle.  He is left humiliated after it goes viral for all the wrong reasons.  There is a wonderful friendship between Shaun and his best friend Shanks.  There are hilariously awkward set pieces which are underpinned by deep themes around peer pressure, young carers and social inequality that make this a stand-out, highly empathc read.  

Fresh and original use of language and slang gives Shaun a real sense of voice and identity. This is an engaging, pacy read with likeable and relatable characters. There is realistic representation of working-class London, characters develop throughout the story and showcase positive relationships. Sophisticated issues around mental health, bullying and poverty are explored with a lightness of touch and in ways that challenge stereotypes. Serious issues are balanced with humorous moments. A quirky rite of passage novel that is clever, authentic and oh-so-realistic. Growls is a character unlike any other!    

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Nathanael Lessore

Nathanael Lessore was born in Camberwell, South East London, as one of eight children to French and Madagascan parents. Although he spent most of his life in Peckham, Nathanael has also lived in Paris, Strasbourg and Singapore. Nathanael became a marketing executive after graduating from the University of East London, believing at the time that a Creative Writing degree destined him for a career in marketing. Nathanael can run 100 metres in under 10 minutes and has trouble finding sunglasses that frame his face properly. STEADY FOR THIS is his debut writing and it gave him the opportunity to show his South East London childhood as the funny, warm, adventurous world that wasn’t always represented as such.

Shadowers' reviews and artwork

"Steady For This" is a novel telling the story of "Growls" and his passion for rap music. We meet many characters along the way including Siobhan, a girl that changes "Growls" life. We also discover the challenges of eviction, being a child carer and living in poorer areas. This book definitely requires patience. Upon reading, I was confused by the language but began to laugh out loud at the cringey jokes made by "Growls". Many other reviews describe just how awful the book is after only reading a few pages, and I would agree. However, after a few chapters you will soon begin to love and feel sorry for "Growls" and some parts even made me cry! I would not call this a masterpiece in literature, but it is very inspiring especially for younger children, and although it is quite confusing to read (if you are not familiar with slang), the story and its morals are lovely and are clear to understand. Please do give this novel a go, even if you are reluctant at first, as it is a heart warming read. However, I would not classify this book as "Young Adult" and more age 9-12 with the understanding that there are some upsetting topics such as eviction and being a young carer. Overall, this is not the best book I've read but I would give it 7/10 for its wonderful ending and sweet characters.


PGHS Shadowers

It was very boring and I didn't like the book. The most annoying part was the slang.

hasan i


I thought that steady for this was a fairly good book but I didn't really like how it was anticlimactic with him spending the whole book trying to win Raptology to save him from eviction but his mum managed to get a better job anyway so it didn't matter. I liked the way he got facts or words wrong but sometimes he managed to get a really long word spelled right so it doesn't really fit with how he is portrayed for the rest of the book



The book "Steady for this, is an absolutely hilarious book! It really makes you laugh out loud with joy. I like the way the book uses teenage slang such as silly nick names like MC Growls and Shanks. Not only is the book amazing on the inside but the front cover is just beautiful and it has such vibrant colours that really make you smile. Overall this was a really good book that I really recomend 10/10


Rebel Readers

Easily my least favourite so far, Steady For This was not a fun read. This is largely due to my disliking of this style and the author being rather oblivious to the fact that most people have absolutely no idea what half the language meant. For example, who would know that the word 'skeen' is slang for whatever/I don't care? Usually, I can credit the author on the plot or the characters if another part in the book is weak as they have previously made up for their mistakes with different aspects of writing but both the plot and characters in this book were appalling. Neither had any depth to them at all and seemed so extremely unrealistic, I spent time trying to think of the possibility of them happening in real life (which probably gave me more pleasure than reading the actual book.) Although I thoroughly despised this book, there was one feature that I actually liked, which was a part of the raps themselves, as they were relatively well structured, meaning I was able to follow the rhythm in my head. However, I did not enjoy reading the lyrics as they were genuinely atrocious, mainly related to ongoing events in Shaun's life, which did not fit the rhythm that I was able to understand. Overall, I found that this was a poor book with a weak plot and characters. Score: Characters:7/20 Plot:8/20 Inspiration:10/20 Total:25/60



It is a fantastic book with amazing turns and twists. It is about a boy who is very good at rapping. Like the rest of the books it shows the difficulty of someone, in this case Shaun. I rate it a 8/10.



Steady for This, by Nathanael Lessore, is a hilarious, beautifully written book. It is written in the perspective of Shaun (aka MC Growls). It follows how he copes with his ever-changing life, and how he copes with going viral in the wrong way. I love how Lessore made the reader feel like they were Growls. Also, the use of slang made characters in the book so fitting. Some of the jokes are hilarious, such as ‘I was supposed to be getting a black belt in origami’! It is one of the funniest book that I have ever read, and I cannot recommend it more!


MTS Northwood

It was a funny book ,but I felt sad for Shaun because he had a lot going on in his life.


Winchmore Carnegie Group 2024

Shaun aka Grimes is a high school kid who dreams of becoming a famous rapper. Life isn’t always easy for him and the author highlights the struggles that many of today’s youth face when living in poverty. The writer draws you in with emotive language and humour which means you can really laugh and cry along with the characters. Although well written with some laugh out loud humour, I wouldn’t be rushing to read the book again. However this book may appeal to you if you yourself are an aspiring artist who fancies a quick read.



I found this book really hard to read. I didn't finish it. I just couldn't get into it. It was boring, and it didn't flow.

Oscar Overend


Brilliant jokes and laugh out loud moments that make steady for this a hilarious novel. Shaun is only a teenager when his life is filled with looming threats of eviction, he's a laughing stock on social media and school, and his best mate is hospitalised by anxiety attacks. This book is interspersed with masterful raps that are enjoyable to read. Steady for this has a really satisfying ending and epilogues that tie all loose ends together. This story reminds everyone that, no matter what, everyone has friends or family to support them.

Caiden o

VISTA Academy

Even thought this book was not something I would usually read, I really enjoyed it. I found it very abstract and it was much better than I had originally expected. I would give this book four out of five stars.


St Kaths

I would give this book a 5/10 because it just meets the alright mark. Growls mum works hard for him, I think Siobhan and him should just be friends. Honestly, I believe that the fact he is called "poopy pants" is pathetic and just cringe because all his mum did was carry laundry. It's also not Growls job to worry about eviction- it's his parents.


Brooke Weston Book Busters

Steady For This is a new and refreshing type of writing that engages the reader with modern slang. The story is about a young MC and his friend trying to start their career but after a disastrous live performance everything is turned upside-down. The author’s style of writing is an innovative way to unearth the world of rap and modern day life for teens. Personally rap had never interested me but I couldn't put the book down and found it an engaging read. 8/10


The Fitzharrys Shadows

The book Steady for This takes place in the east end of London and is about a boy whose life is turned upside down. But when his best friend stopped turning up to school, can he find new ones? Can he do the local rapping competition by himself? He must find a way to prevent his family from losing their home. The part in this book I really enjoyed was how the storyline was laid out and how the protagonist (Shaun AKA Growls) really progressed as a character and grew to appreciate the art of rapping. An aspect of this book I didn't like was the language. Although it set the scene of his personality and style of speaking, I couldn't really understand what the author was trying to say, through Shaun. This book has an interesting insight on what life is like in east London. I would recommend this book to 12 - 14 year olds and would give it a 4/10 as it’s not a genre I particularly enjoy.


The Fitzharrys Shadows

I really enjoyed this book and the rhythmic pace of the book interspersed by humour and also disaster and just by looking I could tell I was looking at something special. Outstanding must read.



‘Steady for This’ is amazing and I thoroughly enjoy it. I love the concept and the humour and once it gets into the book, the plot. I love how the story develops and overall the goofiness of it, whilst also having a deeper meaning.


Sir Harry’s Shadowers

Lily c

Sir Harry’s Shadowers

I have been injured, I wonder how this got into the shortlist let alone got written seeing the clear lack of intelligence behind its writing I felt myself slowly falling into a deep depression whilst reading this excuse for a novel.


Sir Harry’s Shadowers

My brother read 3 pages of this to me, and i am honestly scarred for life. This is one of the worst books that i have ever begun to hear. I will try to read this absolute abomination of literature, but i quite frankly don’t know if i can force myself to. After hearing this, i am genuinely concerned about my mental state should i actually complete this. It is a tasteless mish mash of words that makes me genuinely concerned for the future of our generation. Thank you for your time.


Sir Harry’s Shadowers

I am two pages in and this book makes me want to cry myself to sleep. There is so much slang that there should be a Duolingo course on it, it's very weird and bad. Please beware if you read this you will never be able to go back. 1.764/7.8

Lily c

Sir Harry’s Shadowers

I was utterly horrified by the first page - it was really cringey and awkward and felt too juvenile. I was already begrudging the anticipate wasted time spent reading this. But... It was brilliant. By the end I absolutely adored Growls and would have loved to have had him in my class. Although I didn't like the 'amazing-teacher-everyone-listens-to-straight-away' trope and didn't overly buy into Siobhan's love for him (rather than friendship), I really enjoyed how relatable the character was. It worked hard to show that Shaun's mum was actually a really good mum who tried hard, and sometimes those people who really irritate us don't do it maliciously. I think it would be a great text for all students to read to help them develop empathy for others and realise that there is more to everyone's story than we first assume.

Mrs W

VISTA Academy

Steady for This is a book about a teenage boy named Shaun (aka MC Growls) who aspires to become a rapper. He becomes aware of a competition called rapatology. He is all ready to win when a series of events leaves him unable to enter. This book unfortunately begins in a plotless way but it soon develops into an engaging and gripping story. In the middle you begin to feel for Shaun in a way that only the best authors can do (especially because I found him irritating to begin). Overall I would rate this book at a 7/10. It only lost marks for the beginning.


The Fitzharrys Shadows

Steady for this is a rapping book, Shaun (Mc Growls) gets a bad livestream look. Alone, with no friends he can’t show his face, But Siobhan makes him feel like he’s winning a race. Yet poverty is knocking and the eviction clock is tick tocking, So can he find a way to solve his case? I really enjoyed this amazing novel, Not at once did it feel like a big struggle. With a relation to the real world, I felt this story unfurl. My favourite character was Mr Rix, He always helped Shaun when he was in a fix. Influential and great advice, He was always extremely nice. Scenes talking to Shaun after the livestream were certainly mysterious, However, this did make the book fun yet serious. Although I didn’t enjoy this book at first, It filled me with a reading thirst. With great punch lines and comedy, This could be described as a reading anomaly. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, To people with humour so give it a look!


The Fitzharrys Shadows

I HATED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Everything about it was dreadful: the characters were all detestable, the plot was awful, the events were ludicrously annoying and the language used was so cringey I couldn't finish it. I read the first page, thought in my head, "This looks terrible" and put it down halfway through the book and never picked it up again. How this was ever shortlisted, or even willingly published, I will never know. Would never recommend this to anybody. -10/10



I found this book OK. It had a good plot, with characters that you could sympathise with. I just didn't like the way it was written. I know it was meant to be funny, but I just found it annoying to read.


TBGS Readers

Steady For This is written from the perspective of a high-school kid, and uses slang to express this. Although this is useful, it is occasionally difficult to understand, but has a good effect overall. I liked how Shaun faces lots of challenges, like the threat of eviction, and Shanks falling ill, but overcomes them and wins Raptology. I also like how he wins it: everyone else was flinging insults left right and centre, but he told his story, and didn't insult his opponents.



For this book, I really did not like it at all. The boy in it talks like no real human being would actually talk. He sounds like a kid in an American high school film. It was not funny, and I just read it as fast as I could just to get it done and over with. I cannot stress enough that NO ONE actually talks like that, and I didn't even like the story line. A boy trying to do 'raptology'? What on earth is that? It got a bit better towards the end and at least he achieved his goal. Rapping. Wow. The author could have at least done something other than terrible raps. I would understand singing, but rapping? That's scraping the bottom of the barrel. Anyway, I don't mean any offense to the author, I guess that is just what adults think we sound and talk like these days. I give it a great score of 2 out of 10.



'Steady for this' is a funny and surprisingly moving book by Nathanael Lessore. It's the story of Shaun (or MC Growls) who dreams to be a renowned rapper, and is all set to win Raptology (a freestyle rapping competition) with his best friend - that is, until he's embarrassed big time when his mum comes in with his dirty pants during his and Shanks' live rapping video. Now he's the laughing stock of the entire school, his crush is disgusted by him, his best friend is in hospital and to top it all, he has to deal with him and his family getting evicted. Every chapter is funny and meaningful, with relatable characters and slang language. The author addresses major issues like bullying, mental health, friendship issues and racism, exploring and challenging them, while balancing it out with awkward and comical situations to lighten the mood. Personally, I really enjoyed this book as it was hilarious and genuinely moving, and gave me a wider perspective and knowledge of stereotypes and issues around the world. I would definitely recommend this novel to any reader who enjoys funny and touching books.


Fiction Addiction

I have read this book and I must say I was astounded with how good it was. It has language that people would say nowadays and teenagers will definitely enjoy this book. It reflects with how students in year 8-9 feel about classes. Rapping seems to be the main theme of this story about a guy named Growls trying to win a contest but goes wrong. One thing I like is the character development I highly praise character development and it works really well. Overall it is a book I feel like going back to one day.


FPHS Reading Crew

I think this book shows an amazing insight into gang culture, showing how their life really is and helping you empathise. And how he is trying to be 'cool' really makes you think that maybe not all people who appear deeply into gang culture may just be someone from a low socioeconomic background trying to be 'cool'. I think that descriptions of Shaun and Shanks could be clearer as you don't really find out much about what they look like. I would rate this book 64/70. I think it would be better if the romance wasn't quite so textbook, but overall a great book.


Skipton Shadows

MC Growls is ready to drop his best bars and smash the competition at Raptology. that way, he's convinced Tanisha, his crush, will finally give him a chance. but when a livestream practice goes epically wrong, hes finally achieved his dreams of going viral but not in the good way. now Tanisha won't look at him, he's the joke of the school and there's no way he can show his face at the competition. then a new girl on the block appears who might be just the friend Growls needs. Especially when she points out that Raptology could be the answer to his problems after all



I found this book really funny and engaging (there's even a bit where the main character gets stuck in a pram). I would definitely choose this book for the awards!!! This book would be great for someone going through a hard time as well. And all the characters are so immersive and true-to-life!!! This would also be great for people who are just getting into reading.


Rebel Readers

this book was surprisingly good, it was quite similar to another book I have read called The Poet X. this book was also quite funny as Growls doesn't really understand most of the things people say and he speaks in a funny way the only thing is the end was pretty predictable, seen as everything goes to plan.



This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. Shaun's weird type of language makes the book seem very unique. The characters in this book are all very different. Sometimes it can be a bit weird but its a great book overall. I would recommend this to 12-15 year olds and rate it a 9.5/10.



I really liked how when Shaun is talking the author swaps outs words with other words like he says he is exercising his triceratops instead of his triceps. Some of the words used might be hard for some people to understand as quite a bit of the book uses slang. Overall I think its a good book.

alfie s


This book was amazing and made me laugh lots of times. It also had unexpected moments and twists and turns. Very good highly recommend


The St. Bede’s Literary Critics

Steady for this by Nathanael lassore is a fantastic book with amazing turns and twists. It is about a boy who very good at 'rapping'. He experiences many difficulties but pulls through them one at a time. With having to handle rejections and dates. This book has it all. It is most notable for how funny the book actually this. This master- piece had me not wanting to stop reading. This book is gripping and is a vital read. I would recommend this book for people who like funny and gripping storys


Fiction Addiction

I really enjoyed this book. It flowed well and you could share the way Growls felt. The rap verses were very good; they made sense , told a story and rhymed most of the time. The jokes made me laugh and it was easy to read and understand. On the whole, I loved it - a really good book - I would recommend.


The St. Bede’s Literary Critics

I enjoyed the book mainly for the kind of topics mentioned; the bullying, the eviction and the struggle to pick between friends. I also like the journey he took to reach fame and the fact that his friends and family stood by his side through most of it. It is simply heartwarming.


SHS On The Same Page

This book is about a boy called Shaun who loves to rap. He has a great personality but when his best friend stops coming into school- and even leaving the house- he makes friends with someone new. The story was based on the author’s own life and appeared to be a real story. My favourite character was Siobhan because she’s a very strong and independent character despite struggles at home. It’s a hilarious story and incredibly hard to stop reading. It was just a little hard to follow because of the style. Nathanael Lessore made the choice to misspell certain words to imply that Shaun doesn’t speak the same as everyone else. I really liked this book and couldn’t stop reading it. I would recommend it for ages 11-14 and would rate it 8/10.


The Fitzharrys Shadows

I liked this book because of the dialect used although some people might not understand the dialect used I understood it and it was funny I also like how the book was a good length for its content. I didn't really like the start of this book but when i got near the middle i liked it. This and Choose Love are my favourite books.



Possibly the worst book I have ever read. I felt like I was losing IQ for every page I read. I couldn’t wait to put the book down as I was cringing with every second of reading. Read if you wish, but bear this in mind.

Sam S


This book took me a while to get into, but once I got past the middle of the book I did enjoy the story. I found the style it was written in hard to read.

Mrs C

Ossie’s bookworms

This was quite slow at the start, however got much better towards the end. The word play that was used was funny and it was a decent length for the content. Good for fans of Angie Thomas or Run Rebel (from a few years ago).