What Momma Left Me

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Moving to a new school, making new friends and having your first boyfriend – these are all challenging things. But for Serenity, they are tougher challenges than they are for most people. She and her brother Danny have moved schools because her mother is dead and her father has gone missing. Worse than that, her father has gone missing because he was the one who killed her mother.As Serenity struggles with life after these tragic events, she finds strength in her grandparents, her friends and her church.

Despite the painful subject matter, this is a warm and uplifting book, full of heart and hope. Serenity’s fear that she will end up repeating her mother’s mistakes, and that her brother Danny will end up repeating her father’s mistakes, is powerfully expressed and draws the reader into caring deeply for Serenity. The story is realistic, timely and important for teenagers, but the harrowing topics are handled with enough care to make the book appropriate for mature tweens as well. Serenity’s relationship with her religion is especially well-observed: positive without being idealised. What Momma Left Me would suit readers of older Jacqueline Wilson, and will surely win American Renée Watson some loyal fans in the UK.

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