Broken Soup

Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens Books

Valentine’s powerful second novel maintains the promise of her first.

Rowan’s family are coping two years after her brother Jack’s death, but not coping well. Her mother sleeps, fuelled by antidepressants, her father has moved out, her six-year-old sister relies on her to replace her mother, while Rowan herself has become an obsessive carer.

When she meets Harper, a traveller from the US, and Bee, a newcomer to her school, Rowan rediscovers a life beyond mourning, a hope for restoring her family’s life, and a life beyond death for Jack.

Despite its subject matter, by presenting this novel as a mystery story, with supernatural overtones, and realistic teenage dialogue, Valentine skilfully prevents it from becoming sentimental, maudlin or depressing.

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