Published in the US as My Brilliant Idea (and How It Caused My Downfall) by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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Jack Dawson, aka The Jackdaw, is facing an uncertain future. His mum wants him to excel in his upcoming exams so that he can follow her own career path in the white-collar world, while his dad, well aware of the Jackdaw’s academic disinterest, is busy setting up a job for him sticking labels on bottles at the local whiskey factory. Terrified by both career prospects, the Jackdaw is relying on his talents as an “ideas machine” to provide him with a means of escape.

He is convinced his latest brainwave for an app will make him so rich he’ll no longer have to worry about either his exams or any kind of job. His only problem is that he pays as little attention in computing class as he does in every other subject, and Jackdaw soon learns there is only one person in the whole school whose programming skills are up to the task. With some trepidation, he approaches designated school weirdo Elsie Green.

She eventually agrees to help him on condition that he fulfils a strange desire of her own. In order to achieve this the Jackdaw dreams up a scheme which requires the help of another pupil, and this pupil in turn demands yet another service from the Jackdaw before he’ll agree to help. And so it continues. With his synapses firing on all cylinders, the Jackdaw builds his house of cards as he keeps having to think up schemes to get each new recruit whatever they demand in order to try and make the previous scheme happen…

Meanwhile, the dispute between Jackdaw’s parents about his future career path comes to a head, and the situation at home becomes so fraught that the Jackdaw is sent to stay with his Uncle Ray. But Uncle Ray’s place is a chaotic mad house, and, exhausted by the noise and the mayhem, the Jackdaw is unable to think up a solution to even the simplest of his problems. Just as he begins to despair of ever sorting things out, another pupil at school launches a campaign which ultimately leaves the Jackdaw with only one day to solve everything, or his whole plan will fall to destruction.