Review: The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

Published by Nosy Crow
Published on 2nd January
Cover Illustration: David Dean

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant is an incredibly exciting, fast-paced and heart-warming adventure which I couldn’t bear to put down as it engrossed me from the opening, and kept me gripped throughout.  This was one I read in one sitting, and am now enjoying reading to my Year 4 class who are completely gripped by it!  The short chapters and many cliff-hanger chapter endings is making this a perfect read aloud for my class.

Chaya has a heart of gold and, even though the story opens with her stealing the Queen’s jewels, we soon learn that this is because she steals from the rich to help those in need as the King is neglecting the needs of his subjects.

Chaya has an incredibly loyal friend in Neel who is arrested after taking the blame for her theft, and admitting he has taken the jewels in order to protect her. Chaya refuses to let him accept the blame and orchestrates a daring rescue which leads to her stealing the King’s elephant and escaping into the jungle with Neel and Nour, the daughter of a rich merchant who Chaya blames for their predicament ….

Their journey through the jungle is richly described, full of wonder and beauty, but also danger as the children find themselves at the mercy of leeches; as they race to keep one step ahead of their pursuers; and, as they find themselves in the company of bandits.

The action was fast-paced, filled with a palpable sense of danger, which kept me on the edge of my seat as I tried to work out how Chaya could extricate herself and her friends from the dire situation that they found themselves in ….

I adored Chaya, Neel and Nour. Chaya puts the care of the villagers over her own safety and takes great risks to help them. She is brave, daring and has a real sense of fairness, fighting against the injustice she sees. Neel is an incredibly supportive and loyal friend who is prepared to put his life in danger to save his friend. Nour is the daughter of a rich merchant who has no friends and is desperate for the kind of friendship she sees through Chaya and Neel’s bond. I loved the interplay of the relationship between Chaya and Nour which gave an insight into the character of both girls.

This is a truly wonderful, action-packed adventure with incredibly engaging characters set in a vivid and beautiful landscape which captured me from the opening lines and kept me gripped until the very last page!  A perfect read for children of 8+ who love an action-packed adventure with heart!

WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.  It asks three questions:

1.      What are you currently reading?

2.      What did you recently finish reading?

3.      What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading The House of Hidden Wonders by Sharon Gosling. It’s an amazing book – deeply immersive with wonderful characters. The main character Zinnie is just incredible, and I love her interactions with known historical figures.

I’ve finished reading Viper’s Daughter by Michelle Paver. OH MY GOODNESS! This story really tore at my heartstrings. The author pulls no punches when immersing you into this pre-historical period. The action is relentless and absolutely gripped me. I’m definitely looking forward to more from Torak and Renn.

I’m definitely going to pick this one up next – I really need a dose of Willow, Oswin and their friends as it has been a difficult week hence less reading than I’d normally do, so I need to lose myself in a good fantasy – and I know this will be just perfect!

Blog Tour: Starchild Book Three: The Healing Stone by Vacen Taylor

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and for providing me with an e-copy for review. My review is my own honest opinion of the book.

Synopsis:

Starchild Book Three: The Healing Stone

A riveting ice adventure full of incredible challenges, bravery and friendship. When they escape the attacking forces, Mai, Akra, Kalin know they must find a way to purge the evil of the dark peddle that has consumed Long. But as the news of the Underworld king spreads, gloom and fear begin to sweep over the lands. The children must face a dangerous adventure across the ice to reach the healing stone. Once they reach the stone they must face the truth. Have they made the journey in time to save Long or is he lost to the Underworld forever?

My Review:

I’ve loved reading this series, so I was really excited to be invited on this Blog Tour although I must admit I had already bought the third book after reading Book 2:  The City of Souls.  This book also has my favourite cover!

Akra, the Starchild, holds the powers of all nations within him and is prophesied to unite the nations, but first he must harness all their powers.

Mai, Akra and Kalin have left the City of Souls and are taking Mai’s brother, Long, to Algus, the City of Ice, in a desperate attempt to save him from the destructive power within him that has connected him to the underworld and is threatening to destroy him.

On their arrival, Akra must face a challenge which requires him to harness the power of a waterclasper which allows him to manipulate water, in order to be granted an audience with the stern, ice-cold Queen Isolda.  The children gain an ally and friend in her son, Aque, who convinces his mother to allow them to visit the Healing Stone which offers the only chance of Long’s survival.

The children, along with their new ally Aque, must endure a dangerous and difficult journey across a landscape of ice and snow which requires all their courage and strength as they are chased by fierce predators in a perilous mission to reach the Healing Stone before it is too late to save Long …

The children are in a desperate race against time to save Long before they are discovered by Piceptus, the underworld king, who is intent on opening the gates of the underworld and stopping the fulfilment of the prophecy.  Will they be able to heal Long before Piceptus finds them?

Mai, Akra and Kalin are wonderful friends:  they are courageous, loyal and determined, and gain strength from each other, and their growing powers, when they are confronted by difficult situations. I felt sympathy for Long as he endures hardship and fights to return to his sister, gaining strength in the hope that she will fight for him … but will this be enough to reunite them?

I really enjoyed continuing this exciting adventure full of friendship, fast-paced action, peril and hope as the children battle to fulfil the prophecy against a dangerous adversary who is intent on their failure. 

Vacen Taylor

Author Bio:

Vacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements. A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre).

Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018. The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.

.Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018.

She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.

In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.

What else does she do? Vacen is also a creative workshop facilitator and proficient in, teaching, speaking and concept creation. Guest Speaker. Workshop Presenter. Creative Panel Facilitator. Mentor. Support Worker. Counsellor. Social Welfare Advocate.

Purchase Links:

www.odysseybooks.com.au/titles/9781922200204/

www.amazon.com/gp/product/1922200204

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1922200204

Check out these other Blogs for the Tour:

Review: The Kid Who Came from Space

Published by Harper Collins
Published on 9th January 2020
Cover Illustration: Tom Clohosy Cole

This is a completely absorbing science-fiction read which is very cleverly written in four parts from a dual narrative with extra information being presented as newspaper reports.   The short chapters kept me wanting just one more chapter – a genuinely compulsive read! 

The story opens with a news report about missing 12-year-old Tamara (Tammy) Tait from the small village of Kielder.  It then switches to another planet with the shocking revelation that a young girl is being exhibited in a ‘human zoo.’ One of the inhabitants there, Hellyann, makes a dangerous and courageous decision that changes many lives … and leads to an incredible adventure.

Meanwhile, Tammy’s family are left to cope with their worst nightmare, and the devastating loss, grief and breakdowns this causes.  Their feelings and reactions are heartachingly portrayed and there is a real authenticity to how the small community pulls together to help their own.   

Tammy’s twin brother, Ethan, feels the weight of his guilt at his parting words with his sister, and is determined to do his absolute best to find her.  This leads him to make incredible discoveries, develop wonderful friendships and to travel further than he ever thought possible … the tension is palpable as Ethan and his friends Iggy and Hellyann find themselves in a race to keep secrets hidden, secrets that if unravelled could risk him ever being reunited with his sister.

Ethan is an incredibly sympathetic young boy who fights through his fear and self-doubt to show an inner strength, resilience and single-minded determination to prove himself:  to try his absolute best! 

I found Hellyann a fascinating and wonderfully endearing character with a unique voice.  She lives amongst a race who are devoid, and fearful, of feelings, in a sterilised society with a darkness and desire to control beneath the surface.  However, Hellyann feels strongly, so strongly that she becomes an activist, a decision that leads to her endangering herself, but one that also leads to her forming a close bond with Ethan and Iggy.

There is so much opportunity for discussion based on this story from exploring themes of loss, grief, family and friendship to an exploration of animal and human rights, activism and the nature of society, not to mention the belief in the existence of alien life forms! 

This is a gripping action-packed, heart-warming adventure for children of 10+.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review on behalf of a Book Review site. My review is my honest opinion of the book.

First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

The ghost and her demon move in silence, hidden by shadows, cloaked in night. Down the long columns of darkness they drift: unseen, unheard. The rain does not touch them, neither does the chill wind.

Any ideas?

I was sent this wonderful book post by the publisher today. I thought I’d have a quick look inside and then I read the prologue. Now, I’m completely hooked, so I just have to drop my other reading plans and read this intriguing story this weekend.

Synopsis:

Zinnie and her sisters live in the murky tunnels beneath Edinburgh’s Old Town. They keep out of the way of the authorities and remain undetected. Until, that is, rumours of a ghost bring unwanted visitors into the caverns they call home. Among them, a young Arthur Conan Doyle, keen to investigate, and MacDuff, the shady owner of Edinburgh’s newest attraction, the House of Wonders. Caught up in a world of intrigue and adventure, Zinnie seeks answers. But how can she discover what secrets lie in the House of Wonders while also protecting the sisters she holds so dear? 

WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.  It asks three questions:

1.      What are you currently reading?

2.      What did you recently finish reading?

3.      What do you think you’ll read next?

I was meant to start this earlier in the week, but got to others instead! I’m definitely starting it this evening!

I’m back at work, so not quite so many books read this week. I absolutely loved Girl 38 so couldn’t resist reading The Mystery of the Colour Thief which had been on my TBR for a while. I really enjoyed both of these even though stories in contemporary settings aren’t my go to genre! I also read Toto The Ninja Cat and the Superstar Catastrophe. I can definitely see how it would appeal to a younger reader in terms of both content and layout.

I’ve been approved to read Starfell: Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale on NetGalley. I loved the first book in the series, so am really looking forward to heading back into my fantasy middle-grade comfort zone!

Review: Girl 38

Paperback edition published on 6th February 2020
Published by Zephyr
Illustrations: Anna Hymas

Girl 38 is a sensitively and beautifully written story that perfectly weaves the past into the present, and shows how empathising with past events can impact on present ones, how learning about the bravery of others can lead to the strength to change our own path.  Both the past and the present stories within this book captured me completely, and I found the impact Ania’s story had on Kat really powerful, heart-warming and hopeful.

Girl 38 is the courageous comic strip heroine created by Kat, a heroine that she wishes she could be more like as she is finding her own reality difficult to deal with.  Kat has been friends with Gem ever since their first day at school, but theirs is a toxic friendship as Gem is controlling and manipulative with Kat constantly on edge, trying to keep her happy and going along with her plans, even when they make her feel uneasy.  Kat feels under constant pressure to do whatever Gem wants, desperate not to have her turn her bullying attention on her the way she has on others. 

One day, Kat helps her elderly Polish neighbour, Ania Jankowski after a fall.  She feels an instant rapport with her and they soon develop a warm relationship as Ania shares her painting of her best friend Mila from many years previously.  Kat’s interest is immediately piqued and Ania agrees to tell her about her past.  I loved how their relationship developed so that Kat was eventually able to open up to Ania to share her own problems and to seek comfort and strength in their friendship and in Ania’s story.

Ania’s story is woven throughout the narrative, and is one of incredible daring, determination and courage.  Ania lived in Poland during the Second World War.  She watched her friend Mila being taken away.  She had promised she would find her friend, and it is a promise which she intended keeping, no matter what.  I was really eager for Kat to visit Ania so that I could learn more of her incredible story, and I can absolutely see how listening to Ania’s inspirational story gave Kat the courage to face her fears, just like her heroine, Girl 38.

Just after Kat starts visiting Ania, a new boy, Julius, starts at Kat’s school and he soon attracts the attention of Gem who wants to teach him a lesson for taking the attention away from her.  She ropes Kat into helping her and, even though she doesn’t want to and knows she shouldn’t, Kat goes along with her plans which get more and more humiliating for Julius.  As Kat learns more of Ania’s history, will she have the courage and strength to stand up for herself, to be open and honest and to allow herself the opportunity to develop a healthy friendship?  Can she become the heroine of her own future?

The depiction of the relationships in this story felt incredibly genuine from the toxic relationship between Gem and Kat to the growing friendship between her and Julius and her warm relationship with Ania.  Even though Gem is certainly a bully, I liked that the author gave an insight into her insecurity which may go some way to explaining, but not excusing, her bullying.

This is a story that truly captured my heart:  I was completely invested in both Ania’s and Kat’s stories, and enjoyed how Ania’s story impacted on Kat’s present and helped her face up to a difficult situation, changing her future. 

Thank you to Zephyr and Fritha Lindqvist for a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

February Wrap-Up

February has been a real bookish month for me, not least because I got to meet some of my favourite authors! I am still buying lots of books that I can’t resist, and have been lucky enough to have been sent some wonderful books by publishers. I have way too many books to read and review, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I must admit though that I’m finding it too difficult not to dive into another book before writing a review, so I’m behind on my reviews – again!

Primary School Book Club Live

I went with a wonderful school friend to see Vashti Hardy at Scholastic Headquarters for Primary School Book Club Live which was led by Scott Evans (Primary School Book Club) and brilliantly organised by Harriet Dunlea (Publicity Manager at Scholastic). Vashti was amazing – it really is so inspirational to listen to her talking about her books and writing process. It is so obvious that she loves what she does. I had a wonderful chat with her and had books signed for school and my class. We went for a meal with Vashti and some other wonderful people afterwards which was so much fun. Getting to talk all things bookish for an evening was fantastic. I got to chat to a wonderful blogger who I follow on Twitter, Liam as well as James Nicol and Lorraine Gregory, two brilliant children’s authors whose books I love. This will be an experience I will always remember!

Books Read (includes paperback, e-books and audiobooks)

February has been another good reading month. I’ve read 16 books: 12 paperbacks, 2 e-books and 2 audiobooks.

Paperbacks:

I read four books which were on my TBR which I’d bought myself. The Ice Bear Miracle by Cerrie Burnell really appealed to me as it had folklore elements which I love in books. I really enjoyed this quick read which felt magical, especially the relationship between Tuesday and her ice bear, Promise. I also read The Girl who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook which is an action-packed adventure, with three wonderful children, set in Sri Lanka. I am currently reading this one to my class and they are loving it. I’m trying to read more middle-grade historical fiction, so I picked up The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay which has been on my TBR for far too long! Goodness! Why did I wait so long to read this? It is an astounding story which completely immersed me – definitely one of the best historical fictions I’ve read. I was sent Ewa Jozefkowicz’s second and third books by the publisher. I had her debut on my TBR and, after reading and loving Girl 38, I started The Mystery of the Colour Thief late last night and just couldn’t put it down. I finished after 1:30am. It is a really powerful piece of writing, exploring guilt, grief and friendship through difficult situations, but with a wonderful message of hope.

Books received via publishers/review sites:

I’ve been lucky enough to have been sent these books via publishers, or to have won them via a review site. The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson is a funny, heart-warming story, filled with the strength of family and friendship. Freddie goes on a trip across Wales with his friends to try to find his biological father after the death of his Grandmother. Needless to say, the children get themselves into some ‘interesting’ situations which spark much humour. I was sent The Kid who Came from Space by Ross Welford by a teacher’s review website. This is a wonderful story which is a truly gripping read. I will post my review this week. I was also sent A Treason of Thorns by Laura Weymouth for a review site. It is a young adult historical fantasy which absolutely gripped me. Violet’s relationship with the house fascinated me, as it seemed at times symbiotic and at others parasitic. This is one I would highly recommend. I was lucky enough to win a proof copy of The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke which jumped straight to the top of my TBR as it is a book release I’ve been highly anticipating this year. The story did not disappoint. The five ‘unadoptable’ orphans are just brilliant as they escape the orphanage to avoid a terrible fate and learn how to survive outside of it whilst looking for Milou’s family. So much action, adventure and heart with gorgeous friendships. I took part in a Blog Tour for The Word-Keeper by Veronica del Salle. This is such a whimsical, gorgeous story celebrating the power of language. I’m so glad I took part in this Blog Tour as otherwise I might never have heard of this gorgeous story. I was sent Girl 38 by Ewa Jozefkowicz by the publisher. This is a wonderful story that mixes the contemporary with the past in a really clever way. It is poignant and uplifting, and celebrates the strength of real friendships and the courage sometimes needed to fight for them.

Other paperbacks:

I am taking part in a Blog Tour for Starchild Book Three: The Healing Stone by Vacen Taylor. I was sent an e-book for review, but I had already bought a paperback as I’m really enjoying this series which follows a group of children attempting to fulfil a prophecy which sees goodness overcoming evil. I was sent a copy of Slugboy Saves the World by its author, Mark A Smith. I really enjoyed this very funny story of an ‘accidental’ superhero who has not exactly been given the most impressive superhero powers but nonetheless, his heart is in the right place, just not his ability! I’ll post my review shortly.

e-books:

I was approved to read Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (this is the first of a series in the US) but the first one has just been released in the UK. My review is here. I was also approved to read the second in the Boot series: The Rusty Robot by Shane Hegarty. My review is here.

Audiobooks:

I listened to the wonderful David Tennant reading Twice Magic and Knock Three Times by Cressida Cowell.

Books bought:

I have bought 12 books this month, but have only managed to read one of them! No wonder I cannot reduce my TBR!

Books received from publishers:

I have been lucky enough to have been sent these books to read and review from the publishers: Zephyr Books, Hachette and Bloomsbury.

Netgalley

I was very excited to get pre-approved by Hachette on NetGalley. This means I have access to all the children’s books they put on NetGalley – so very tempted to request everything! I have managed to keep my Feedback Ratio at 83% and have 6 books to review.

I’ve been approved to read two fantastic books this month:

These are both the second books in a series, and I loved the first books. Umbrella Mouse to the Rescue will be published on 16th June and Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale will be published on 2nd April.

It’s been a busy bookish month! How has your reading month been? What books have you enjoyed? Have you read any of these books?

Blog Tour: The Word-Keeper by Veronica del Valle

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and to the author, Veronica del Salle for providing me with a copy of the book to review via her publisher SilverwoodBooks. My review is my own honest opinion of the book.

What would happen if words disappeared forever?

Blurb:

Set in a whimsical town called Inkwell, a place with an ancient secret history, this fairy-tale like adventure will uncover the key to the power hidden within words. The Word-Keeper is a tale about a savvy bookmark named Ben that unwillingly becomes an evil imp with only one objective: follow the orders of his master and destroy the words that live inside books. Only one girl can stop him. Her name is Florence Ibbot. She is eleven years old, oddly eloquent and a quiet observer of the world. But above all, Florence is a keen logophile and is willing to sacrifice everything to protect the words. She sets out to discover who is behind all this. The journey will take her to the origins of writing and inspiration. But she’ll also have to face the most treacherous adversary, Zyler, a ruthless sorceress whose sole mission is to ruin one of humankind’s most precious possessions: the gift of language. As the final battle approaches, Florence will have to learn how to wield words instead of the sword. Is Florence brave enough to become who she was born to be?

My Review:

The title of this story captured my interest from the start, and I was not disappointed. This is an absolutely delightful fantasy adventure story, with plenty of action, which completely entranced me. I adored the bookish messages scattered throughout and loved that the story was a celebration of the power and importance of language in all its forms.

It was just a book she was reading for the fun of it. The best kind of book in her opinion.

This was enough to make Florence Ibbot a new favourite! As a primary school teacher, my heart is very much in encouraging reading for pleasure , so this quote is just perfect and one I’m going to put up in my reading corner!

Eleven-year-old Florence is excited about her annual visit to Inkwell where her Grandpa and best friend live. She is self-assured and intelligent with a love for language and a real thirst for knowledge.

Her journey to Inkwell has a real surreal quality which was beautifully portrayed: time-changing fields, boasting plums and bongo-playing wombats: brilliant!

Once in Inkwell and settled with a book, Florence makes a bookmark, Ben, who comes to life. Ben has a real respect and care for words BUT he is taken over by an evil imp whose master, hates words and wants to see them removed from books with all the disastrous consequences that has for language in the world. This causes chaos in the quaint village of Inkwell as words become mixed up, lost and disappear. It is up to Florence, with the help of her friends, to save her beloved words from disappearing, but can she face her fears and self-doubt to overcome their nemesis?

I really enjoyed the fairy-tale quality to the sharing of the history of Inkwell which explains what is happening in the present, and thought the plot was very cleverly woven around this thread. I also enjoyed the warm relationship between Florence and her Grandpa who clearly adore each other.

The illustrations by Eleanor Hardiman are a gorgeous addition to the story. There are a series of wonderful full page illustrations interspersed within the narrative which really complement the magical quality of the story.

This story really felt like a celebration of the power of words and language, especially those captured in stories, and made me appreciate how lucky I am that I have a wealth of wonderful stories in my life!

Purchase Links:

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Word-Keeper-Veronica-Del-Valle-ebook/dp/B07S2183W5/

US: https://www.amazon.com/Word-Keeper-Veronica-Del-Valle-ebook/dp/B07S2183W5/

Author Bio –

Veronica Del Valle grew up in Argentina, but life eventually led her to live in London, the city that was her home for many years. Veronica’s always had a fondness for words, language and the magic of storytelling. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. Veronica currently lives in Buenos Aires with her husband, Ale, and her daughter, Tomiko. She teaches creative writing at Universidad de San Andres and is a contributing editor and writer for one of Argentina’s leading news organizations. When she’s not writing or teaching, she’s either a) meditating or b) enjoying life with her family(which, in a way, is another beautiful way to meditate). The Word Keeper is the first novel she’s written.

Social Media links –

Instagram: @veronica.del.valle

Website: www.veronicadelvallebooks.com

Check out these other Blogs for the Tour:

First Line Fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

He came out of nowhere, a man in the smoke. He was nothing more than a shadow at first, a smudge of black in the grey. But as he loomed closer, he grew bigger, became more solid. My heart was a drum. He was shouting at me, but the sound bounced off my ears in eerie echoes. His long arms reached out. He was so close that I could smell him – a mix of sweat and burning rubber. He leaned in …

Any ideas?

I was sent the second and third book by Ewa Jozefkowicz this week, and it reminded me that I have her debut which I still haven’t read. I was very excited about reading this when I first bought it, but it got lost in my massive TBR pile, so I intend to remedy that!

Goodreads Synopsis

First the accident, then the nightmares. The shadowy thief steals all the colours from Izzy’s world leaving her feeling empty and hopeless. Will her new neighbour and a nest full of cygnets save Izzy and solve the mystery of the colour thief? A heartwarming story about families, friendships,school, nature, hope and self-confidence.

After a frightening car accident, Izzy’s mum is in a coma. Her family is in pieces. Her best friend at school has dumped her. And her nightmares are haunted by a shadowy man stealing all the colours from her world. She’s trying so hard to be brave, but Izzy thinks everything is her fault. Then she meets her new neighbour, Toby, paralyzed after a skateboarding accident, and together they find a nest of cygnets who need rescuing. Particularly the odd one out, called Spike. Will saving Spike save Izzy? Will she and Toby solve the mystery of the colour thief and bring hope and happiness back to Izzy’s life? Written with insight, compassion and empathy – an authentic story about real life and how to survive it.