Publisher: Chronicle Books
Thirteen-year-old Alice is trying to stop her family falling apart. A year ago, her mother had a serious car accident, leaving her injured and depressed. Alice has slowly taken on the role of a young carer, while her father has announced that he must move out and her brothers are moving to her aunt’s.
A furious Alice finds some solace in new friends Harriet and Owen, her swimming club and also in moving into a tent in the garden, where she threatens to sleep unless her father changes his mind about leaving. Meanwhile, a new distraction has arisen – Piper, a little girl whom Alice starts to babysit, doesn’t speak and appears not to hear.
This is a very beautiful book, touching on themes of mental health, family relationships, friendships and love. Alice is a very likeable protagonist with whom we find great empathy as she slowly comes to terms with the inevitable changes in her family. We see her learn to understand when and where she can – and when she can’t. Her relationship with Piper is both touching and convincing, with a rare condition handled in a sensitive and thought-provoking way.
A gentle and memorable read.