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.
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.
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.
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
It was a stupid, insane, suicidal idea. Which makes it quite hard to explain why I decided to help. I guess it boils down to this. Charlie was my best friend. I missed him. And I couldn’t think of anything better to do. Really stupid reasons which were never going to impress the police, the headmistress or my parents.
Looking back, I reckon this was the moment when my whole life started to go pear shaped.
Mark Haddon is the author of bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. boom! was originally published as Gridzbi Spudvetch! in 1992 with this rewritten version published in 2009.
What I Thought
boom! Is a fun, pacy middle grade where Jimbo (James) and his friend Charlie discover something unusual when they bug the teacher’s staff room at school. With echoes of the Demon Headmaster it is up to them to uncover the nefarious plot. Then Charlie goes missing. Older sister Becky turns out to care more than she lets on, and the two of them head off on her boyfriend’s motorbike to discover what goes boom!
Very much of its original age there is some gender stereotyping that is perhaps a little unhelpful at times but Jimbo is a likeable little imp and you want him to triumph.
Jimbo and Charlie have a fun friendship. The adults are most definitely comic relief. Charlie’s mum is a little extreme!
Full of adventure and humour with the kids most definitely in charge.
Two Dorset-based book lovers (hint – one of them is me) are launching a Kickstarter for a bi-monthly book subscription box aimed at 8-12 year olds – and anyone else who loves a good story.
The box will launch in September 2019 with September and November’s boxes being exclusive to Kickstarter supporters. Following a successful campaign the boxes will be available to the general public from January 2020, with gift cards available as the perfect Christmas gift.
Each box will contain:
A carefully selected, newly released middle grade book, in a mix of genres
A signed bookplate
A matching/themed bookmark
Themed collectible pin with locking back
WeRead Activity Booklet featuring content from WeRead members and monthly book club discussion and activity prompts
Author introduction video and post read Q&A (provided online)
Additional Item/s inspired by the monthly theme/book
Each box will be carefully curated in the hope that the books and box contents will appeal to readers of all genders.
WeRead Box is committed to making their packaging and products as eco-friendly as possible.
Reading for pleasure has been shown to develop, among other qualities, kindness and empathy, things our world is in definite need of. The quote above epitomises WeRead Box’s ethos. We will package and present reading as something fun to engage in, whilst encouraging our readers to use what they’ve learned from the book in their everyday lives – all delivered directly to your door!
The Kickstarter launched at 8am Friday 7th June 2019 and will run for 28 days. By supporting it today, you can ensure access to our exclusive 2019 boxes and maybe even snag an early bird discount https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kirstyes/weread-box.