“Teen fiction from the winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize.”


I got to do an ARC of this book, courtesy of David Sanger and Sally Nicholls.

“I told my brother Jonathan I was going to write a book about all the things that happened to us last year. About home-made spaceships, and the lock-pickers, and the thermal lances, and the exploding dishwasher, and the island that was old when the Vikings came, and the hunt for Auntie Irene’s treasure…

This is the book I wrote.”

Tell me you’re not hooked.

I doesn’t matter if you’re not a child anymore. Sometimes, you need to become a child again and experience the innocence of childhood.

I had one last exam when I got this. I removed the book from the packing, smelled its fresh print and hugged it and then opened it. I didn’t read though. But, I did take a sneak peek at the first chapter, and I was instantly and insanely hooked. There’s something about her writing that makes me want more. But I put it away and waited till my exams got over.

After reading the first chapter, I realized that the main character, Holly (we get to the introductions later) is strong. Like Sally. When she fights with Jonathan, her brother, regarding the title of her book, I thought he was younger than her. But, then after I continued, he was clearly not.

(I’m trying so hard not say stuff that will spoil readers. It’s just so hard.)

In all of Sally Nicholls’ books, the main character is the most optimistic one. The one bubbling with energy. This was the first time I’d recognized myself with one of her characters: Holly. She’s kind of the glue in the house, as she constantly tries to support both Jonathan, and Davy, her younger brother, after the death of their mother, and even though she’s only twelve, she likes to think of herself as a mature young adult. I like that and admire that about her. And I used to see that in myself when I was her age.

The internet finally proved its existence in a book.

I loved the chapter names, especially the Great Pivotal In Becoming a Woman (Or Jonathan And Davy In A Bra Shop). They were just so funny and honest and that said a lot about Holly’s enthusiasm.

As much as I loved Holly, for being a 12-year-old and kind of mothering her two brothers, my favourite character was Jonathan. He just seemed so real. He has quite a huge responsibility at such a young age, but he undergoes a transformation in the book. He goes from I’m-doomed-AGAIN to We-can-handle-this to There’s-no-stopping-me. Of course, it involved a certain love interest, but the journey to Orkney and back was what changed him dramatically.

There were so many times I just wanted to hug Holly and Jonathan and Davy because what they’re going through is not what they should be going through. Orphans, left to live off by some money, so much sacrifice. Sometimes, it brought tears to my eyes. But then, Holly makes me laugh. And everything is all right.

Sally Nicholls has a rare talent for describing the most boring things in the most vivid way one can imagine. It mostly explained what we could do with it, so that makes it a whole lot fun for us to imagine.

The best part of the whole book is Holly mentioning again and again how she wants to be an environmentalist when she grows up! She keeps mentioning how she’ll travel all over the world one day and not fly and instead she’ll build a yacht and sail around. That was what I had most in common with Holly as I’m an Environmental Science student. I totally support her.

I give this book a solid 4 stars.

Recommended for all age groups. Even uptight ones.


Reviewed by:

Parinitha P

Added 19th May 2015