The Light in Everything

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Fierce, loud, energetic and determined, Zofia loves her life by the sea with her Dad. She loves her friends and the trips to the beach after school, fearlessly diving into the waves.

Tom couldn’t be more different. Having escaped from domestic violence, Tom and his mum live in a little flat in the city. Tom is frightened, quiet and timid, finding comfort in folding paper into beautiful birds and filling his room with lights to keep out the dark.

When Tom's mum and Zofia’s dad fall in love, it’s a shock to both children. These reluctant new step-siblings have absolutely nothing in common. Zofia’s worried about being replaced by her Dad’s new girlfriend and her son, which makes her mean and bitter towards Tom; Tom just wants his Mum to be happy after what she’s been through, though he’s mistrustful of Zofia’s Dad, and shrinks into himself to avoid being noticed.

As the children try to get used to their new lives, tragedy threatens to strike. Both Tom and Zofia are forced to reassess what is truly important – and what makes a family.

This quiet, powerful book from October, October author Katya Balen looks at the complexities and challenges of getting used to a new family through the eyes of two very different children. Tom and Zofia have polar opposite ways of processing their parents finding each other and starting a new life, but each are as valid and deserving of compassion as each other. It’s this compassion that leads to an ultimately happy, hopeful ending.  Please note that there are references to past instances of domestic abuse that some readers might find upsetting.

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