Review & blog tour: Emmy Levels Up

Updated: Apr 1

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

This week marks the publication of Emmy Levels Up (available here) by Helen Harvey, and today is our stop on the blog tour. Read on for a review of Emmy Levels Up and then head over to author Helen's's guest booklist exploring 5 children's chapter books about bullying.


Book Title: Emmy Levels Up (available here)

Author: Helen Harvey

Publisher: OUP

Publication Date: April 2021

Most Suitable for: Years 5-6+

Emmy Levels Up by debut middle-grade author Helen Harvey tells the story of Emmy - a celebrated gamer with a vibrant online community. She plays as a 'fire elemental', excelling in the online world with thousands of fans watching her in battle. She is fearless, with magma claws and a breath of flames.

At school, however, it is a different story. Emmy is struggling with verbal bullying and is picked on for having no dad, for her clothing choices and for her scrawly handwriting. Inspired by the author's own experiences at school, the hurt caused by the bullies affects Emmy deeply, especially as it takes place right under the noses of the teachers who are supposed to protect her. The underhand nature of the bullying makes it all the more difficult to know how to handle. At home, things are not so easy either, with drama and changing dynamics affecting the harmony of family life.

As the three strands of Emmy's life weave together, Emmy finds ways to draw on her confidence and resilience gained in the gaming world to 'level up' her response to events in the real world.

There's plenty to relate to in this story for young readers aged 8-12. Emmy's love of gaming will be an immediate draw for many readers. In the gaming world, Emmy can create what she feels is her true self, while in real life she feels like she has to adapt to fit in and so much is outside her control. The story explores the positive side of gaming for young people - the creativity, empowerment and problem-solving skills help Emmy to overcome obstacles at school and home. I'm pleased to see middle-grade authors embracing the important role that gaming plays for the current generation of children, and in this case countering some of the bad press and parental guilt around screen time for children by exploring the benefits.

This is a pacey read that will go down a storm in KS2 classrooms.

You can order Emmy Levels Up from Amazon or Bookshop.

Guest Post

Click here to read author Helen Harvey's guest booklist exploring 5 children's books about bullying.


You can order Emmy Levels Up from Amazon or Bookshop.

Many thanks to the publishers for sending us a review copy and to Helen for providing the guest post. Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too.



Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our printable year group booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.


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