Jane Elson

All posts tagged Jane Elson

Aw… bibliobeth turns 3!

Published January 5, 2016 by bibliobeth

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It’s my blogoversary today and I can’t believe I’ve been blogging now for three years – just where has the time gone? 2015 was one of my best years to date, I met some lovely fellow bloggers at events such as YALC and YA Shot and Crime In The Court, interviewed some top authors like Alexia Casale, Alison Rattle, Karen Maitland, Sarah Hilary, Jane Elson and Piers Torday (to name a few!), carried out my first face-to-face interview with Jason Starr (post to be published soon) and ran my very first blogging workshop with my lovely sister Chrissi Reads! That’s a whole lot of things to be excited about and if I can be half as successful in 2016 I will be one happy blogger indeed.

I just want to thank EVERYONE who reads my little old posts whether you’re a bibliobeth virgin or a returning reader, it really means the world to me and I couldn’t do it without your support.

So, to celebrate my blogoversary I will be running a giveaway where the prize is four books of your choice (excepting textbooks and ridiculously prized books) from Amazon or The Book Depository. I’ll leave the giveaway open until the end of January to give people a chance to enter where I’ll then pick a winner and update you all. Please make sure if you are under eighteen you have permission to email me your address so I can send your books. Enter below!:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway IS international so why not try your luck?

Once again, thank you so much to everyone in the blogosphere for making this such a great community to be part of. Here’s to hopefully many more years of blogging ahead. Good luck everyone!!

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YA SHOT – 28th October 2015, Uxbridge, London

Published October 21, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

YA Shot is a one day event for young adult and middle grade fiction in London where seventy-one authors will participate in talks and book signings. It has all been organised by the lovely Alexia Casale, author of The Bone Dragon and House of Windows who decided on a YA Shot five-word “ethos,” that it should be generous, passionate, inclusive, challenging and fun and she has put together a fabulous programme that is sure to excite anyone who is enthusiastic about young adult fiction.

Tell us more?:

The event in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstones Uxbridge will host various “panel” and “in conversation” talks throughout the day at different sites all within easy walking distance of each other. There will also be an opportunity to attend workshop events hosted by bloggers and vloggers active in the UK at the moment.

What kind of talks?:

There are so many talks planned that look so interesting! I will be trying to attend as many as possible (that is, until I have to go host one of the workshops with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads in the afternoon!)

The ones I’d love to go to include:

11.30am – 12.30pm Playing with Time: Historical fiction and historical settings – Chaired by Natasha Farrant with Lucy Coats, Rhian Ivory and Alison Rattle

12.45pm – 1.45pm Crime and Punishment: Fictional wrongdoing and human rights – Chaired by Laura Jarratt with Cat Clarke, Keren David and Emma Haughton

2pm – 3pm Trigger Warning: Exploring sensitive issues in ethical ways – Chaired by Alexia Casale with Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne and Louisa Reid

12.45pm – 1.45pm Treasured Land: Nature as a character and concern in YA – Chaired by Piers Torday with Lisa Heathfield and Anna McKerrow

4.40pm – 5.40pm Tragedy! Tackling sadness in fiction for younger teens – Chaired by Candy Gorlay with Jane Elson and Aoife Walsh [MG event, suitable for children aged 7-11 as well as adults]

Aagh, I can already see I’ve got a clash and am going to have to think carefully about which talk I want to go to! This is only a small sample of what’s on offer and I can honestly say I think there’s something for everyone.

Don’t forget the workshops as well! Chrissi Reads and I are hosting one at 3:45 pm about How To Get Started With Blogging. If you’re new to the blogging world or already have your own blog but want to know a bit more about getting things going, please come along and we shall try our best to make it worth your while. We’ve also got Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies and a member of the Bookish Brits who will be talking about group projects and reading challenges, Benjamin of Tomes who will show you how to get started with vlogging, Debbie from Snuggling on the Sofa and Daphne of Winged Reviews who will show you how to develop your brand and increase your followers and Jim from Ya Ya Yeah and Wei Ming Kam of Rare, Medium, Well Done who will discuss diversity in literature. To name a few!

Which authors are going to be there?:

I’m just going to throw a few names out there:

Alexia Casale (obviously)

Piers Torday, author of The Last Wild series

Jane Elson, author of A Room Full of Chocolate and How To Fly With Broken Wings

C J Daughtery, author of The Night School series

Tanya Byrne, author of Heart-Shaped Bruise and Follow Me Down

Emma Carroll, author of Frost Hollow Hall and The Girl Who Walked On Air

Holly Bourne, author of Soulmates and Am I Normal Yet?

Cat Clarke, author of Undone and The Lost And The Found

James Dawson, author of This Book Is Gay and All Of The Above

And that’s just a few of them.

Where can I buy tickets?:

Tickets are still available from the YA Shot website. Online orders will close at 6pm on Tuesday 27th October but there may be some available on the door on Wednesday 28th October.

Any more information?:

Please see the official YA Shot website which will tell you everything else you need to know. Maybe I’ll see you there!

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YA SHOT REVIEW – How To Fly With Broken Wings – Jane Elson

Published October 19, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

‘If Finn Maison shouts jump you jump or you are dead.’

Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk – and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Barton gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend?

Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle.

Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too.

And when Magic Man Archie arrives with stories of war-flying spitfires, he will change the lives of the kids on the Beckham Estate for ever. And perhaps find a way for Willem and Sasha to fly …

Touching on themes such as friendship and bullying, this is a charming tale about overcoming obstacles and finding friendship in unlikely places.

What did I think?:

When Alexia Casale (YA author, organiser of YA Shot and all round “good egg,”) asked me if I would like to interview Jane Elson as part of a blog tour for YA Shot, I jumped at the chance. Not only did I completely fall in love with Jane’s debut novel A Room Full Of Chocolate last year but I have had her second novel on my Kindle for a while now wondering when I was going to get round to reading it! I’m so glad I made time for it now as it was a heart-breaking and terrific read that cemented me as a definite fan of Jane Elson.

The author focuses on a few different characters in this novel but the pivotal character is a twelve year old boy called Willem who has a form of autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome. This leads to him having problems interacting and communicating with others, strange rituals and behaviours that he must complete otherwise he gets very anxious and he also tends to see the world in a very literal way which can be quite confusing for him if someone is being sarcastic for instance, or making a joke that he cannot understand.

At the beginning of the novel, poor Willem is at the mercy of school bully Finn and his horrible gang. They exploit both Willem’s fear of the bullies and his passion for flying in the worst way – by making him jump off a fairly high wall. He breaks an ankle in the incident but is still determined to complete his homework set by his maths teacher, to make two new friends. Like a little guardian angel, in flies Sasha Barton. She is the girlfriend of gang leader Finn but has become increasingly fed-up with his antics and feels terribly sorry for Willem after he breaks his ankle, visiting him and vowing to be his friend.

When the pair find out that they both share a passion for flying they are overjoyed but even more so when a kindly new neighbour to the estate shows them his beautiful secret, a Spitfire plane flown in the war which is now lovingly taken care of and flown by Archie himself. The Spitfire has a wonderful history to go along with it and Sasha especially is entranced by the love story between a man and a woman in Great Britain at war, the woman Rachel being one of the very first and little known about women pilots who flew Spitfires for the war effort in the 1940’s. Then when riots break out on the estate between Finn’s gang and a rival gang, it pulls together all the characters in ways they never imagined and additionally creates a heart stopping and dangerous moment that reveals how terrifying peer pressure and bullying can really be. As a result, it might even be possible for Sasha and Willem to discover how to fly but not initially in the way they dreamed of.

This book tugged at every single one of my heart strings. Once again, Jane Elson has pulled off a truly mesmerising read that will have you shouting at the page (not this one hopefully…no spoilers here don’t worry!) and re-evaluating how you look at/treat people you come across in your daily life. I know a couple of people with either autism or Asperger’s Syndrome myself and I think Jane has done a stellar job, writing the character of Willem sensitively and accurately. I loved Willem as a character – he has that sort of pure innocence and honesty that we often lose early on in our lives when we become grumpy, cynical old adults. It was quite refreshing for me reading a point of view like this but in another way quite bitter sweet as it can often make that child an easy target for bullies, which is what Willem goes through. I also enjoyed the extra characters and what they brought to the story, in particular Willem’s fiesty Gran (who gives the rioters a run for their money!) the lovely neighbour Archie and even Buster the Staffie who I definitely developed a soft spot for! As with her debut novel, Jane Elson does not hold back, hide away or attempt to side-step difficult or traumatic situations. Bad things happen, the world sometimes is not fair and telling children the truth I think is so incredibly important and is one of the very many reasons why I think Jane Elson is a brilliant author for the little people (and even the big people) in your life.

To see my review for A Room Full of Chocolate click HERE

To check out my interview with Jane Elson click HERE

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Author Interview – Jane Elson on her second novel, How To Fly With Broken Wings for YA Shot

Published October 15, 2015 by bibliobeth

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Jane Elson with staffie Shireen from The Dogs Trust at Harefield – photo provided by author

JANE ELSON – A BIOGRAPHY

After performing as an actress and comedy improviser for many years, Jane fell into writing stories and plays. A Room Full of Chocolate was her first book for children and won Peters’ Book of the Year and the Leeds Book Award as well as being longlisted for the Branford Boase and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Her second book How To Fly With Broken Wings  has been Longlisted for Hillingdon Secondary Book of the Year and the Hounslow School Libray Service Junior Book Award.When she is not writing Jane spends her time running creative writing and comedy improvisation workshops for children with special educational needs and volunteering at Kentish Town City Farm. Jane was also Selected as a New Voice in the Guardian’s guide to The Best New Children’s Books 2014, Jane is described as ‘A new author to watch.’

Click on the books to get to their description on GoodReads!

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For my review of A Room Full Of Chocolate please click HERE.

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INTERVIEW WITH JANE ELSON

I’d like to welcome Jane to bibliobeth today and thank her for her time in giving this interview!

1.) How To Fly With Broken Wings is your second novel, following the amazing A Room Full Of Chocolate. After the huge success of your debut novel did you find it difficult to write the second or was the story always there to be told?

I actually started writing How to Fly With Broken Wings before I had finished the draft of A Room Full Of Chocolate, which I submitted to my now agent, Jodie Hodges. I was attending Lou Kuenzler’s Writing for Children Workshop at City Lit and the first chapter just fell out on the page and the story started to pour from me. I really enjoyed the experience of writing in the two voices of Willem and Sasha. I think How to Fly is the most complex project I have ever tackled but I loved every moment of working on it, and for that I have my amazing editor Naomi Greenwood to thank. She makes the editing process a creative joy, so even when I was working long- long hours on my story, it was enjoyable. However tired I got it never felt like a slog as Naomi has such a talent for helping me bring out the best in my writing.

2.) How To Fly With Broken Wings follows a young boy with Aspergers Syndrome who is trying his hardest to make friends. Have you had any personal experience with bullying and how did it affect your life?

Yes, I was bullied at school. I was an undiagnosed dyslexic and dyspraxic, which made me an easy target. The kid who was clumsy and very uncoordinated – so easy to mock. I hated PE so much. So much bullying seemed to happen in those lessons. I remember the teacher doing this thing where the last child to get changed after swimming and back on the coach would lose 10 house points. Of course it was always me. Getting changed quickly and dealing with buttons and shoe laces can be a challenge for a dyspraxic!

I remember as if it were yesterday, the misery of trying to run to the coach with half my clothes on inside out and still wet from swimming as I had not had time to dry myself properly.

I would say bullying affected my confidence in a big way. I now work one morning a week with dyslexic and dyspraxic children, some of whom have Aspergers Syndrome.

The bullying I went through has given me a big insight and understanding into some of the challenges many young people face.

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From Jane’s Pinterest board: moods by LEGO face, source – designholic at flickr.com

3.) Willem and Sasha bond in the novel over their love of flying. What kind of research did you have to carry out in order to bring their story to life?

Oh my goodness, I have never done so much research in my life! The acknowledgement list at the back of my book is huge. There are too many people to mention all of them here so I will just name a few, starting with the nitty gritty – the technical stuff.

I read a whole manual on How To Fly a Spitfire! I was also lucky enough to coincidently bump into a man, Andrew Pearce, who knew everything about Spitfires.

My cousin Sally helped me with the science and made it fun and easy for me to understand, as it’s not my strongest subject.

My publisher, Hodder Children’s Books, was adamant – and rightly so – that if I was going to tell the story I wanted to tell, then the bullies had to get the appropriate punishment.

My friend Paula, put me in touch with Steven Wilkinson, a retired policeman, who was able to advise me on police procedure for the climax of the story. My friend Curtis Ashton, a social worker who has worked extensively with Young Offenders, was so valuable in making sure that we had the appropriate punishments for Finn and his gang in How To Fly With Broken Wings.

Next came the research for the historical texture of my story. The research I enjoyed the most was visiting the vintage shop Circa who helped me explore the beautiful textures and fabrics of 1940’s fashion and let me peep in the 1940’s handbags, smell the face powder, feel the silk and embody Rachel’s world – the female Spitfire Pilot in my story – as she danced the night away in her red dress. My friend Leon, an expert in dance, talked me through 1940’s dancing – the jitterbug and jive.

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Diana Barnarto Walker – one of the “Spitfire Women,” – Jane’s inspiration for the character of Rachel (photo provided by author)

 

The research that moved me the most was watching documentaries about the Spitfire Ladies of the ATA. I was so touched by these women, now very old but with such twinkling eyes, that have known the freedom of flight: the feeling of dancing with the clouds in a Spitfire. Life was never the same for them when the war ended. Most of them never had the opportunity to fly again. That really tore at my heart. I have such respect and admiration for their bravery and the vital part they played in World War 2.

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Maureen Dunlop, an Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) pilot featured on the front cover of The Picture Post magazine on the 16th September 1944. One in ten female pilots died flying for the ATA. Maureen died at the age of 91 in May 2012. Jane says: “She became the glamorous cover girl image of the war. People loved this image as it showed women could be brave and beautiful.”


The other bit of research that moved me deeply was the plight of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier or Staffie as they are commonly known. They are the most abused breed and a huge percentage of dogs in rescue centres are Staffies. They are loyal beautiful dogs – known as the nannie dog as they actually are so good with children. Even so, they have gained an undeservedly bad reputation through the media, as so many lads like Finn and his gang in How to Fly choose this breed to strut down the street with thinking it makes them look tougher. This powerful and brilliant RSPCA You Tube video Britain Love Your Staffie, really tugged at my heart strings.

I thought back to the books I had read as a child and so often it was a Collie dog, or Retriever or a lovable but scruffy mongrel, but I couldn’t think of any story with a Staffie –and so Buster was born. He was such fun to write and I thought it an interesting dynamic to make him Finn’s dog but a total softie, showing the true nature of the breed. As they say there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.

Dogs Trust Harefield were so supportive with what I was trying to do with Buster. Richard Moore, the manager met with me and introduced me to the dogs. I had a lovely morning playing with and having my photograph taken with Shireen, a beautiful little white Staffie, for the inside of the back cover of How To Fly With Broken Wings. Shireen, I am thrilled to say, found her forever home the week after the photo session and is so happy with her new family.

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From Jane’s Pinterest board and her inspiration for the Staffie Buster in the novel (and coz it’s too cute, I couldn’t resist!) Source: petsandlove.net

4.) You are appearing at YA Shot in Uxbridge this year on a panel about tackling sadness in fiction for younger teenagers. Is it crucial for you as an author to get an important message across in your books?

I never write a book thinking I want to get a message across. The story is always paramount but through the characters issues naturally arise and it’s important I am responsible about this. I am very aware that children in the MG age range 8-12 often are dealing with the same issues as the YA age group. It is important to me reaching out to those children. I applaud Jacqueline Wilson for the subjects she has tackled and I feel that she has paved the way for other authors to be able to do this.

5.) Do you believe that libraries still play an important role in inspiring young people to read?

Yes definitely. I think there is something very precious about choosing a book in a library, taking it home, getting lost in the story, then bringing it back and exchanging it for another story to treasure. I still remember my first trip to the library when I picked Orlando, a story about a ginger cat who had adventures. In my job as an author I have seen some amazing libraries, both public and in schools. I love it when they are lively and the hub of the school or community. They are also relatively safe places for children to go when they have nothing else to do in the long school holidays. I see time and time again in my local library, flocks of children drifting in off the streets and shifting through the books then finding something that captures their imagination and sitting there quietly for hours lost in another world. That’s magical really if you think about it. Libraries are vital to the community and must be protected.

6.) Have there been any authors in particular that inspired you as a writer?

I realize the books I read as a child inspired me to be on the path I am now – but of course I did not realize it at the time, as it never occurred to me that I could be a writer. It was beyond my imagination as I spent my whole time at school being punished for my bad spelling. However the stories I wrote were passed under the desk and read by the other kids in secret during science – yet still the penny did not drop that maybe, just maybe I had a knack for storytelling.

When I was a child I loved books by Noel Stretfield particularly When The Siren Whaled – I performed a piece from that book to get into my after school drama classes. It really is a wonderful book. The other book of hers I loved was Ballet Shoes. I think this book had a major influence in my ending up in the theatre. I have a flare for improvisation, so making up stories and reading and performing them was the passion of my life – yet still it didn’t occur to me that maybe I could write stories down. I also read all the Enid Blyton books, of course. If you had told me when I was a child that I would grow up and be published by Hodder Children’s Books who also publish Enid Blyton and Noel Stretfield, I would never have believed you in a million years.

When I met my editor, Naomi Greenwood, for the first time she asked me about my background. Naomi said something along the lines of – you have always been on the path to this moment, only you didn’t realize it. I remember looking round and seeing all the displays of Enid Blyton and Noel Stretfield books and it was a really profound moment, like my life suddenly made sense.

Horse books were also my passion as a child – I loved Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka. On my next book cover, Swimming To The Moon, Michelle, my lovely designer is going to put a horse on the front! This is the ultimate dream for me – I am so excited. I like to relax by going to Kentish Town City Farm to see the horses in particular Winston a big black cob who I have really bonded with.

Entering the world of children’s books as an adult, there are many writers who have inspired me. For example, the late Siobhan Dowd – Solace of the Road is a stunning piece of literature; David Almond’s Skellig is one of my favourite books of all time; I also love Hilary Mckay. Naomi, my editor gave me a copy of Permanent Rose. I loved it so much and promptly went out and bought the whole Casson Family series. Hilary’s writing is just delicious. I was so honoured that one of my first author appearances was at the Hay Festival on a panel with Hilary Mckay.

7.) How do you see the future of YA/MG fiction?

I think as the world changes the stories that need to be told naturally evolve with the issues young people face. But I always hope that young people will continue to read classic books from days gone by. I think it is important to understand the stories of the past to make sense of the present.

7.) Are you working on anything now and can you tell us a little bit about it?

The book I am writing on now is called Swimming To the Moon about a quirky, very clumsy girl called Bee who has a love of hats. Bee can’t swim, yet accepts a double dare to enter a sponsored swim to raise money for the local old people’s home where her great grand Beatrix lived before she died. Bee misses her so much she can’t breathe. Then she meets Moon-Star Higgins a traveller, who feels like a trapped animal in school. The two make a pact by the Promise Tree in the woods that cannot be broken and both their lives are changed forever.

Swimming To The Moon is a book about love and grief and reaching for your dreams.

And now for some quick fire questions!……

E book or real book?

Real books – every time, I love the smell and touch of a book and the satisfaction of holding it in your hand and finishing it.

Series or stand alone?

Both – some standalones stay in your memory forever and are perfect just as they are. There is something very exciting though about reading a series. I mentioned the Casson Family series earlier by Hilary McKay. It’s lovely to have a whole collection on your shelf.

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction – I love to escape into another world. However, doing research gives me a chance to explore non-fiction books I would never normally read.

The How to fly A Spitfire manual springs to mind!

Online shopping or bookshop trawling?

Bookshop trawling definitely. I love exploring bookshops – all those possibilities! I love it when I am visiting new places and suddenly come upon an independent book shop to explore.

Bookmarking or dog-earing?

Bookmarking without a doubt. I have a whole collection including a beautiful one that my friend Chris embroidered for me. However sometimes I grab anything to hand to mark my place and forget it’s there. I love it when years later I come upon notes and all sorts of treasure within the pages of my books.

My dad used to put leaves in between the pages of his nature books. They were really beautiful.

 

Once again, thank you so much to Jane for her efforts in making this interview possible. How To Fly With Broken Wings was published on 3rd March 2015 by Hodder Children’s Books and is available from all good book retailers. Why not check out her awesome debut novel, A Room Full of Chocolate too?

Coming tomorrow on bibliobeth – my review of How To Fly With Broken Wings.

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A Room Full of Chocolate – Jane Elson

Published April 17, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Grace’s fun loving Mum has found a lump. Her north London world of sleepovers, tap dancing and playing the clarinet fall apart when she is sent to live with her grumpy old granddad on his farm in Yorkshire while her mother goes into hospital to get better.

Grace misses her mother so much it hurts, and doesn’t quite understand what is happening to her. And things go from bad to worse when she starts school and becomes the bullies newest target.

But Grace is no longer alone when she meets the wild Megan and her pig, Claude – when she’s with them she feels as if she can confront anything. At Easter time when Grace misses her mum the most, she knows she must find a way to get to London. With Megan’s help, she hatches a plan to run away that involves Claude, chocolate Easter eggs and a risky ID swap. But it’s all worth it if it means that she finally gets to see her mum …

A gorgeous story of courage and friendship that will tug at your heart strings.

What did I think?:

My sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads read this book recently and devoured it in a matter of hours so when she recommended it to me I knew I had to read it immediately. I’m so glad I did, this is a beautiful and touching story of a young girl called Grace who is sent to stay with her Grandad on his farm in Yorkshire when her mum finds a lump in her breast and has to undergo treatment for cancer. This doesn’t really appeal to Grace as a) she wants to stay with her mother and is worried about what having a “lump” actually means and b) her Grandad is notoriously grumpy and her friends are in London, so staying in a strange place with no other company apart from a quick-tempered relative whom she hardly knows isn’t Graces idea of a good time! However Grace does not need to be concerned, as soon as she arrives she is accosted by a young girl in red wellingtons – Megan and her pet pig Claude who follows her round like a little shadow. The three quickly become firm friends (yes, including the pig!) and Grace discovers that Megan is the daughter of her mother’s old best friend from when she lived on the farm, which gives her an important link with her mum whom she is fretting about on a daily basis.

So you might think that the story can meander along quite happily, and Grace herself feels quite contented now that she has a new best friend and a pig to play with. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. Firstly, Grandad has taken against Meg’s “wild” family which he seems to have a long-standing rift with and forbids Grace to have any contact with them. Of course she ignores this but it leads to her having to sneak out at any given opportunity to meet her friend and take her mind off what is happening with her mother. Secondly, Meg is not exactly with the “popular” crowd at the school in Yorkshire, and is looked on as being slightly strange as she struggles to fit in. As Grace is friends with her is is automatically lumped into the same box and is subjected to taunts, threats and abuse by text message daily, which she keeps to herself, bottling it all up inside. To let her feelings out, Grace uses a journal, private to her but certain parts we as the reader are allowed to see. Grace’s heart-breaking journal entries with her worries about her mother (did she get the lump dancing?) and her fears about the bullies that are targeting her were wonderful, felt completely authentic and were my favourite parts of the book.  There comes a time when Grace begins to realise how serious her mum’s illness actually is and runs away with Meg to London to try and see her with the naughty little Claude in tow of course, oinking at inappropriate moments and causing havoc when released!

I’m not going to spoil the whole book but I have to heartily recommend it as a great example of middle grade fiction that I can imagine school children of this age absolutely loving. It’s not just another cancer story, its so much more than that and touches on a wide range of issues that I think its important children should be aware of, like prejudice, bullying, serious illness, and the importance of friendship. I fell in love with the characters almost immediately (especially Claude the pig) and had that nice warm and fuzzy feeling when I eventually finished it, strangely enough like I had devoured a delicious chocolate bar. This is such a special and exciting book, I hope it gets the acclaim it deserves and I could honestly pick it up and read it all over again.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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