An absolutely gob-smacking, fabulous tale about Evie, her older sister Cilla, and a family torn apart by explosive-behind-closed-door issues. In this beautiful epistolary novel, Evie writes to her pregnant teen-sister Cilla who has been sent away by their parents. Evie and Cilla come from a wholesome Catholic family whose devotion should lead to a life of peace, love and acceptance. But Cilla’s leaving has torn the family apart and judgement seems rife, particularly when the girl’s parents want no mention of their older daughter at all.
Evie’s letters go unanswered for much of the book, and the eventual responses that she does get from her sister are cursory and distant. Meanwhile, Evie meets June and things start to drastically change, confronting the former’s Catholic ideology.
Where is Evie’s sister in all of this? Where is the advice of the older sibling at Evie’s most needed time? Evie decides to take matters into her own hands to find her sister and confront her once and for all, but with tragic consequences.
This is a heartbreaking but also heartwarming story which deals with complex and difficult topics. It confronts the difficult question of how someone should deal with loss and grief. It questions religion and morality, and addresses forgiveness and closure. It deals with the issues that arise when parents are not parents, but struggling people unable to deal with their own lives. It talks about the awkward and burning discovery of first love, and it tests the boundary of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when defining what love is, and who should feel it with whom.
This fabulous story introduces early concepts of physical and emotional romance, and same-sex relationships among tweens.
The writing is confronting and at times very sad, but also beautiful and brilliant. Look for my favourite quote on page 285:
“I can do what I want,” I added. “Or like who I want.” It didn’t feel like me saying the words. It felt like someone else, someone proud of who she was.
Someone who wasn’t ashamed of what other people thought.
I acted the way I wanted to be. Because maybe then, this bravery will start to feel more natural.
I acted the way you wanted to act all along. It was hard, though. Really hard.
This wonderful book is set to be published in March 2018 and is for readers aged 9-12 (grades 3-7). Let’s be honest though, I read it, thoroughly enjoyed it and will take my favourite quote from this book to heart.
Please, please keep and eye out for this book, it is so incredibly refreshing to see so many of the issues covered within it so artfully delivered to readers of this age, and it is an excellent addition to literature which features a strong character of the LGBT community.