Monday, 20 April 2015

An Island of Our Own, Sally Nicholls

Pages: 223
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 2nd April 2015
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Ways to Live Forever, Season of Secrets, Al Fall Down, A Lily A Rose, Close Your Pretty Eyes, Shadow Girl

Siblings Jonathon, Holly and Davy have been struggling to survive since the death of their mother, and are determined to avoid being taken into care. When the family’s wealthy but eccentric Great-Aunt Irene has a stroke, they go to visit her. Unable to speak or white, she gives Holly some photographs that might lead to an inheritance that could solve all their problems. But they’re not the only ones after the treasure…

I’m a big fan of Sally Nicholls’ heart-warming, emotional stories of growing up for younger teens and An Island of Our Own was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

When Molly was eleven, Davy was six and Jonathon was eighteen, their mum died, leaving them to look after themselves. Jonathon turned down his place at university and took his job as a waiter in a cafĂ© to care for his younger siblings. This struck a chord with me. Luckily I was a little older than Jonathon having just graduated from uni I ended up doing the same as him, though he had it harder, and I understood everything he was going through. It’s not an easy thing to do at any age, but at 18, wow.

And they’re not doing so well. I really loved how Sally Nicholls handled this. She showed the often neglected positive things that our social services and government do to help kids in this situation and it was heart-warming to see. Those services allowed these kids to stay together and stay afloat in the hardest years of their lives and I think that does get forgotten in all the bad press sometimes.

Holly is a sweet, engaging narrator and I loved following along on her adventures. Her voice felt spot on for her age (13-14) and her reactions and thought processes too; I often find this age a murky with lots of voices feeling either a lot younger or a lot younger but Nicholls hit the nail on the head. Holly’ enthusiasm and determination to find her Aunt Irene’s hidden treasure to save her family is something I admired. She won’t be beaten, even against crazy odds and I loved that; she fully believed that everything was possible.

I loved An Island of Our Own. It’s a novel about family, friends, adventure and grabbing every opportunity that gets offered to you – I hope this novel is discovered by as many teens as possible.

Thanks to Scholastic for the review copy!


Sophie 

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