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Lost for Words by Aoife Walsh – #Bookstagram Tour Book Review

It’s my spot on the Lost for Words #bookstagram tour organised by @darkroomtours today and I thought I’d share my review here too.

Synopsis

Dallas’s life was turned upside down the day her mum was killed in a traffic accident. Now she lives with her brothers, step-sister and her mum’s partner Gemma in a too-small house filled with bickering and grief. As the end of primary school approaches, Dallas learns that the local library has run out of funding and will soon be closing. Dallas decides she cannot let another thing she loves be lost. Together with her friends Aiza and Ruby, and her freewheeling American aunt Jessi, she starts a campaign to save the library for everyone.

A beautifully told tale about family, grief and growing up.

Author

Aoife Walsh lives in Oxford with three nice children, a nice fellow and a sweet cat. Her previous books are Look After Me and Too Close To Home. Like Lost For Words they are about families, but then in her opinion hardly any families are the same, whatever Tolstoy reckons.

Instagram: http://instagram.com/AoifeMPWalsh

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AoifeMPWalsh

What I Thought

Although eleven year old Dallas takes on the council in her attempt to save the local library this is really a story about family. And Dallas’ family has been rocked by tragedy.

This story is told from Dallas’ point of view and through her we explore grief, challenging family dynamics, friendship and a dabbling in politics. From her very first school debate on Brexit 😂, to her clashes with the council, Dallas grows in confidence – but will it be enough?

This is a middle grade story but with Dallas on the verge of leaving primary school and moving up to secondary school. With the arrival of her aunt Jessi from Texas she is offered an even bigger move, and when you feel like the spare tyre in your family, feeling wanted is very comforting.

After her mum’s death, partner Gemma is left in charge and she’s got a job, two 4 year olds (one with autism), an 18 year old and Dallas to contend with, all within the confines of a small house on the river. The sense of lack of space is expressed well and I love how Dallas uses this to express why libraries are so important, even though she hasn’t used hers for months.

The dynamic between Dallas and her two best friends, Ruby and Aiza is an escape for her. They have a few adventures, challenging bullies, walking the line between becoming bullies themselves, a trip to London gone wrong. I particularly liked the scenes where Ruby asks Aiza more about her Muslim Faith after hearing negative comments at home. I love that the girls are able to have this dialogue. I would definitely be interested in reading stories from each of their perspectives too. Ruby in particular is so quiet, whilst I’m sure she has lots to say. Neither of these girls has the most stable home life but they look after each other, and also have the ability to be honest with each other too. This is a great example of female friendship.

I highly recommend this read, it’s empowering for kids to be shown how to stand up for something and Aoife Walsh has written a dynamic and imperfect family or three. I really hope to read more about these girls.

Lost for Words is released this Thursday – 4th July. Goodreads link.

Thanks to Darkroom Tours and Anderson Press for gifting me the copy of this book for the purposes of an honest review.

Do check out the rest of the tour stops

#YAShot2016 – My Perfect Library – Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

YA SHOT BANNER SIDE

The Second YAShot is taking place this October and a further announcement about the final programme is set to be released today at 4pm on the YAShot website. Sadly I can’t go this year but I still wanted to support this fabulous event that supports a year’s worth of author visits to libraries and schools.

Today, I am pleased to welcome back author of ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ – Kiran Millwood-Hargrave. I asked her some questions about what her perfect library would look like.

My Perfect Library 

 

The Librarians would be…cats, because my two favourite things are books and cats. Plus I think cats would look really cute in those stereotypical librarian glasses, and would be good at the passive aggressive stares that librarians stereotypically give.

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The Seating would be…armchairs. Really big, plush ones you can curl up in. I’m assuming this library is for reading purposes only, because if it’s for working I need a hard, upright chair. I’m Catholic in my taste when it comes to work.

 

What I’d see as I walked through the door…books and cats in librarian glasses. And an ice cold gin martini (very dry, very dirty). I’m obsessed with globes so the Clementinum National Library in the Czech Republic is pretty ideal, though it would need a bean bag corner for nap times.

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How would the books be shelved? By genre and/or ‘if you liked this, you may enjoy…’. I’d work my way through the magical realism section first.

 

The events that they’d hold would be…salon style, with authors in conversation. They’d stretch into the early hours and turn into lock-ins – we’d need more martinis. And no one in the audience would ask that kind of question where you know they only want to hear their own voice. I’d also be partial to a literary themed fancy dress parties – The Great Gatsby, The Hunger Games and so on.

 

It’d have these bookshelves….that spanned from ceiling to floor, and ladders on wheels. Because, Belle.

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I definitely agree with the Belle bookshelves – those sliding ladders.

 

What would your perfect library look like? Do let Kiran and I know in the comments below.

 

Make sure to check out the rest of the tour by following #YAShot2016 and grab your ticket. You can also sponsor a ticket too – let’s pass the love of reading on.

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