By Author / Illustrator
Paperback / softback
When Alfie Turner loses his mum, it feels like his world is falling apart. She was the glue that held their family together and, now that she's gone, Alfie and his dad don't really know how to be a family without her. And then Alfie meets Alice. Alice is a force of nature and has her own set of problems, but at least when Alfie's with her he can forget about his. Or can he? Because no matter how hard you run, life will always catch up in the end. Despite everything holding them back, together Alfie and Alice learn two things: that friendship can help dig you out of even the blackest hole, and that it's not the falling down that matters, it's the getting back up. Enormously heartfelt and insightful, this fiercely uplifting novel is Eve Ainsworth at her best.
Alfie is a young boy of secondary school age, struggling because his mother has died. His entire world has literally been turned upside down and the things he used to care about seem unimportant now. Then he meets new girl, Alice, who is unlike anyone he's met before. Alice has also been going through difficult times for different reasons and they strike up an complicated friendship that does not always go smoothly. This book deals with very difficult subject matter in a very accessible way. It is not trying to be a tearjerker but a realistic look at how both children and adults cope, or don't cope, with loss and grief. The author has worked with children in a pastoral capacity in a secondary school and this book definitely has that feel of authenticity. Eve Ainsworth wrote it with a particular child in mind and it deals with both Alfie's mental health and that of his father; neither of them able to talk about their feelings or properly grieve. This book was read by my mature 11-year-old and I would say it is right for 11+ readers. It is less harrowing in many ways than A Monster Calls in dealing with a similar topic because the death of the mother has already happened. The quote on the front cover from Joanna Nadin sums it up perfectly - 'Beautiful and moving' - and if it gets children talking about how they are feeling then Eve Ainsworth will have done a good service as well as writing a thought-provoking book. 272 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 11+