Cosima Unfortunate Steals a Star

Publisher: HarperCollins

To her friends, 12-year-old Cosima is Cos. To the Stains (the unpleasant brother and sister who manage the Home for Unfortunate Girls)she is simply ‘number one’ – she was the first child they took in, as a baby. Over the years, she’s been joined there by many other ‘unfortunates’ – disabled children to be hidden away from Victorian society. In the rare moments they are not painstakingly unpicking old rope for the despicable duo, the girls find solace developing their respective hobbies and skills and (in Cosima’s case) concocting scams for stealing cakes, with varying levels of success.

When a mysterious visitor wants to adopt all 20 girls for his dubious ‘Empire Exhibition’, Cos and her friends forge a plan – an ambitious heist which will take their previous pranking to a whole new level. Pooling their skills and creativity, they set out to expose the villain and steal the priceless Indian Star tiara from his exhibition. Along the way, Cos will find clues to help solve another mystery – the identity of her parents.

This is an innovative, well-paced adventure story, fusing historical settings with current and relatable themes. The concept of a jewellery heist conducted by a band of disabled children make it both absorbing and memorable. Cos is a delightful protagonist – determined, flawed and charismatic. The author (like her heroine) has hypermobility spectrum disorder, and effectively blends in authentic detail within the ingenious storytelling. Crafting props from rope to fool those around you might sound implausible, but here it just adds to the magical appeal of this unusual book!

Funny but also thought-provoking, it’s a mystery adventure with a difference.

Dros y blynyddoedd mae Cos, sy’n 12 oed, wedi cael cwmni llawer o ‘anffodusion’ eraill yn y Cartref i Ferched Anffodus – plant anabl i’w cuddio o olwg y gymdeithas Fictoraidd.

Pan mae ymwelydd dirgel eisiau mabwysiadu pob un o’r 20 merch ar gyfer ei arddangosfa ymerodrol amheus, mae Cos a’i ffrindiau’n mynd ati i ddatgelu’r gwir am y cnaf. Yn ystod y daith, bydd Cos yn dod o hyd i gliwiau i helpu i ddatrys dirgelwch arall – sef pwy oedd ei rhieni.

Mae Cos yn brif gymeriad hyfryd – penderfynol, amherffaith a charismataidd. Mae gan yr awdur (fel ei harwres) anhwylder sbectrwm gorsymudedd, ac mae’n cymysgu manylion dilys yn effeithiol heb dynnu sylw oddi wrth yr adrodd stori dyfeisgar.

Yn ddoniol ond hefyd yn gwneud ichi feddwl, mae hon yn antur dirgelwch wahanol i’r arfer.

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