Published
Publication date: May 2019
202% funded
579 backers
Cover of Underdogs

A near-future war novel, where teenagers who escaped an attack on their special school become the last hope of freeing the British people.

Special education has never looked like this.

Ewan West has grown up being seen as nothing more than a defiant teenage screw-up, with learning difficulties and enormous personal issues. Thankfully, he’s smart as hell in the battlefield. And now that the British population depends on him, his life might finally mean something.

Britain has been conquered, its population imprisoned in giant walled citadels. They are guarded by an innumerable army of cloned soldiers, created by the biologists and military personnel who have seized power. The nation’s last hope are the Underdogs: a dozen fighters comprised largely of Ewan’s special school classmates, hidden in the abandoned countryside near the prison city of New London.

Ewan and his friends have much to fight against – inside and out – in order to free the British people. But their war is as complex as the characters who fight it. After all, how do you defeat a factory-grown army that outnumbers you by at least a million? The answer may lie in an impossible woman rescued by the Underdogs, who claims to know the secret to destroying New London’s clone factory.

Underdogs, suitable for teens and adults alike, is a character-driven story above all else. Its main characters have spent their formative years being made to believe they’re at the bottom of the social food chain, and now find themselves trying to rescue the population that put them there. As they develop throughout the story, the teenagers are trapped in a constant conflict between learning how to play to their strengths, and coping with the demand on their mental states as the war takes turns for the worse.

In an era when fictional representations of neurodiversity and disability are on the rise, Underdogs goes beyond mere tokenism and introduces a whole cast of teenagers who think differently, balancing their inbuilt advantages with their personal challenges. The novel blends increasingly relevant social issues with intense action, and the result is more than a typical underdog tale. It is a war story about vulnerable young people trying to be the best they can be, in a world that has never been on their side.

Chris Bonnello is an award-winning writer and an international speaker on autism issues, formerly a primary school teacher who also works in special education. He is the author of autisticnotweird.com, where he writes about autism from both a professional and personal perspective. His diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome came at the age of 25, after growing up believing himself to just have – as documented on official forms by a professional educational psychologist – a “slightly odd personality”.


Bonnello launched Autistic Not Weird in April 2015, a venture which has seen him attract over 100,000 Facebook followers, and over 1.8 million website hits. His first publication, “What We Love Most About Life”, was an uplifting book designed to help autistic young people feel less alone.


Bonnello passed his Masters degree in Creative Writing with distinction, graduating in December 2017. He was also a nominee for the 2017 National Diversity Awards (Positive Role Model for Disability) and a two-time winner at the Autism Hero Awards (Top Journalist 2017, Online Social Community 2018).


His personality remains slightly odd.

Social media links:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Underdogsnovel/, and https://www.facebook.com/autisticnotweird


YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/autisticnotweird


Twitter: @AutisticNW


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/autisticnotweird


Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/autisticnotweird

A reflective road sign with a thirty-miles-per-hour speed limit suggested that a village was close by. The crumpled frame of a Citroën lay wrapped around the sign’s pole. A year ago, some idiot had tried to escape in a car.

The driver’s body had been left for nature to sort out, and nature had done a good job of it. The skeleton slumped over the steering wheel would remain in place for decades to come, and so would the bullet that had dropped to the leather seat as the skin around it had been eaten away.

Ewan poked his rifle through the car’s remains. They had not been ambushed this far from New London for half a year, but he wasn’t known for taking stupid risks anymore. With nothing of interest inside the vehicle, he glanced up at the sign. There was still enough daylight to read the sentence beneath it.

Sandridge welcomes careful drivers.

‘Repeat after me, Ewan,’ came Alex’s deep voice, booming out from ten steps behind him, ‘we are definitely stopping here tonight.’

‘What, your little legs are getting tired?’

‘Not tired. Bored. There’s a difference.’

It was Alex in a nutshell. The old man of the strike team, nearly in his mid-twenties, he seemed to think his extra years gave him some kind of authority. That, and not having learning difficulties.

Ewan understood. Alex must have felt humiliated, sent out with a bunch of special school teenagers and not even being the leader. Kids in special ed were supposed to be useless. Even the clever ones.

Ewan left the Citroën, and led Alex and Charlie into Sandridge. The other half of the squad would be less than a mile behind.

He glanced across at Charlie, and tried to decipher his best friend’s mood. Ewan would make the same decisions however Charlie felt about them, but it was better to guess his reaction in advance. Objections were always problematic when they came from a fifteen-year-old short lad with ADHD and intermittent anger issues.

‘I’ll give us half an hour,’ Ewan said. ‘No more. The more walking we get done tonight, the quicker we get to the Citadel tomorrow. And the less knackered we’ll be if any gunfire starts.’

Ewan checked around for nodding heads. Alex and Charlie would not be happy, but they knew whatever Ewan said, he meant.

At the start of the war, there had been more than thirty people in Dr Joseph McCormick’s band of Underdogs. Less than half of them were still alive, and Ewan’s leadership had grown more uncompromising with every death. There were twelve Underdogs left now, six of them on that night’s mission. Ewan was pretty sure that was half. Two sixes made twelve, after all.

Common sense told him a war between twelve humans and Nicholas Grant’s million cloned soldiers was already hopeless, and the British people would be imprisoned in the Citadels forever. Especially since eight Underdogs were teenagers from Oakenfold Special School. But Ewan’s whole brain was built for defiance.

Read more...

Underdogs 2 needs your help!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Hi everyone,

First things first, I hope all of you have enjoyed (or will enjoy) the finished version of Underdogs! Those who follow Underdogs' Facebook page will have seen my reaction to seeing the actual books in all their printed real-life glory, and watching the reviews come in on Amazon and Goodreads has been humbling. Thanks once again for supporting Underdogs - I'd like to hope it's made…

Underdogs 2 is now available for pre-order!

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Hi everyone,

To those who have received their copies of Underdogs in the post already (or have been reading the digital version), I hope you're loving it! It's certainly been an emotional couple of weeks for me, holding my first novel in my hands for the first time. So thank you, once again, to everyone who made this awesomeness happen. It has truly been a wonderful experience, and I hope the book…

Four (yes, FOUR) important updates!

Friday, 22 March 2019

U1c

Hi everyone - I can barely express how hectic, important, and downright awesome this week has been for Underdogs. It has involved:

  1. A release date being announced;
  2. A finalised cover being made public;
  3. The end date for the reward stage being announced;
  4. And one especially amazing bit of news that I’ll save until last.

Oh, and it also involved the book passing 600 pre-ordered copies and…

Want to keep up to date with the Underdogs universe?

Monday, 18 February 2019

Hi everyone,

Wow, things are progressing rapidly with Underdogs! The publication date is now accurately estimated to be in May, the cover art is being designed (the prototypes I've seen so far have been incredible), the novel itself is going through the final proofing stage, and a whopping 465 people have pre-ordered 554 copies between them. If you're one of those people, thanks so much! (Given…

Guerrillas is dead. Long live Underdogs!

Friday, 1 February 2019

Hi everyone,

Two big bits of news to report in this update:

1) Guerrillas has now been renamed, and will be published as Underdogs! The decision was a joint one between Unbound and myself, and it's certainly a positive one in my opinion. (Which is no light thing to say, given that I'd been calling it Guerrillas for nine years! There are more details in the Facebook community post here. In short…

A few important updates!

Friday, 4 January 2019

Shannon

Hi everyone, happy new year and I hope 2019 has got off to a decent start for all of you. It's been a while since my last Guerrillas update, so here's what's in the news.

 

1. Turns out the reward stage isn't over!

A month ago, I erroneously thought that the rewards phase ended 90 days after the project's launch - which would have been December 12th. On further investigation, the 90 day…

The end draws near...

Sunday, 2 December 2018

...well, the end of the reward phase draws near at least!

I am humbled and amazed that Guerrillas is now 134% funded (at time of writing), with 12 days left of the original pre-order phase. Your support guarantees that the published version will be of the highest possible quality. Thank you all so much!

A fun fact, actually- I learned recently that the average book sells 250-300 copies in its…

Well, this is incredible!

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Dear all,

At the start of this journey, I was advised that Unbound projects are most likely to succeed when they reach 30% in the opening 30 days.

On Day 35, Guerrillas hit 100%.

First things first, I'd like to give an enormous thank you to everyone who put Guerrillas in such a strong position, and guaranteed that the world WILL get a neurodiverse war novel with teenage heroes from a special…

Day Ten - and 50% reached!

Monday, 24 September 2018

Massive, massive thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered Guerrillas already: ten days in out of ninety and we're already halfway there! We're surprisingly close to having a published novel where the cast of heroes is comprised almost entirely of teenagers with special needs. Who'd have thought it?

For those curious about learning even more about Guerrillas, my Facebook page for the book (and Autistic…

These people are helping to fund Underdogs.

Avatar
Jean Bender
Avatar
Alexander Cunliffe
Avatar
Andrew Combs
Avatar
Marti Hamilton
Avatar
Nigel Williams
Avatar
Christian Hampson
Avatar
Susana Sala
Avatar
Rebecca Crothers
Avatar
Andrew Johnston
Avatar
Jon Wright
Avatar
Kirsty Graham
Avatar
Beth Saunders
Avatar
Lydia Chong
Avatar
Seb Teather
Avatar
Steven Delsaint
Avatar
Lesley Michalska
Avatar
Tania Lombardi
Avatar
Helen Bryant
Avatar
Making Momentum
Avatar
Gemma Haley
Avatar
Z Tarnet
Avatar
Jackson Watkinson
Avatar
Hannah Empey
Avatar
Kris Mosqueda
Avatar
donna taylor
Avatar
Darren Boldy
Avatar
Brian Main
Avatar
Jennifer Moore
Avatar
Stephanie Kenniburg
Avatar
Annie Knowles
Avatar
Genevieve Curl
Avatar
Abigail Gollins
Avatar
Paul Micallef
Avatar
Odette Hofstedt
Avatar
Kate Wooldridge
Avatar
Ian Groombridge
Avatar
Hazel Went
Avatar
Susan Harrington
Avatar
Amanda Brown
Avatar
Shelley Murray-Foreman
Avatar
Naomi Marshall
Avatar
Jennifer McGowan
Avatar
Lyn Campos Navarro
Avatar
Aleyn Lester
Avatar
Jorik Mol
Avatar
Janiece Smith
Avatar
Dawn Cox
Avatar
Finley Evans
Avatar
Kerry Dustin
Avatar
Jim Darby
Avatar
Emily Keer
Avatar
Ivan Zamot
Avatar
Leigh MacDonald
Avatar
David Belbin
Avatar
Alex Laws
Avatar
Kathy Westhead
Avatar
Tiffany Campbell
Avatar
Leah Rozendaal
Avatar
Jean Sando
Avatar
Hannah Axon
View all supporters
Paul Phillips
Paul Phillips asked:

Hi. I'm looking to pledge at the Super Patron level but I want two books so that I can have both my partners and my name in the book.
If I pledge via the £20 level twice how can I get her name in the book against the second pledge ?

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Absolutely Paul. You can change the name in the book as soon as you've made the pledge, or you can pledge for the 2x Super Patron level which would combine the shipping. Please see here for help if you need it: https://bit.ly/2OxkPkq.

Best wishes,

Unbound Support

Leigh-Anne Yacovelli
Leigh-Anne Yacovelli asked:

Will you ship to the US? I'm asking because the dinner is in England, which is the only mention I can find about a possible location of the author and/or publisher.

Unbound
Unbound replied:

We do indeed ship to the US, Leigh-Anne. Just enter your address details during the checkout process. I hope this helps!

Unbound Support

Join in the conversation

Sign in to ask a question