Paper Avalanche

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Fourteen-year-old Ro Snow’s got a secret: her house is filled to the doors with her mother’s hoarded rubbish: it’s so bad that there’s even rubbish in the bath, meaning the only way that Ro can stay clean is by using the tiny shower cubicle. Yet Ro fears if anyone finds out how bad the house is, she’ll be taken into care, so she’ll do anything to stay under the radar.

Seemingly unwelcome in her dad’s new life with his perfect new wife and daughter, Ro doesn’t have anyone to confide in. That is, until Tanvi Shah, returning to school after beating cancer, makes it her mission to make friends with Ro – and enlist her in the school choir, where Ro discovers that she has a great voice. Add in a beautiful but equally lonely boy, Noah, and things start to get complicated, especially when Ro’s singing threatens to disrupt her carefully constructed anonymity.

Ro and Bonnie’s mother-daughter dynamic is sensitively written, and the book explores Bonnie’s mental health issues and their effect on Ro with compassion, alongside Tanvi’s relationship with her family and her past illness. A brilliant, thoughtful read.

Parents should be advised that the book contains some swearing.

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