Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
This is the third of Katya’s books I have read and honestly, I love her writing more each time. She has such skill in creating believable characters with whom the reader can easily connect and her deft hand in giving them such natural and authentic voices is wonderful.
Two very different children, each with a single parents, find themselves forced together and totally at odds. Their conflict is epic really and their complete disparity would seem an insurmountable obstacle to any kind of peaceful resolution.
Zofia lives with her dad by the sea in a small village where everyone knows everyone and Zofia’s classmates number not much more than a handful. Her mother died when she was just a baby, so she’s never known anything different to just being part of a pair with her doctor dad, Marek. Their life is busy and fun and sometimes wild, with Zofia being like a shaken bottle of fizzy drink – always effervescent and often messy and noisy.
Tom is quiet and fearful, and only just regaining some feeling of safety. He and his mum, Fiona, endured some cruel domestic violence but now his father is in prison and though he has been for two years, Tom is still frequently anxious and there are some things that he just cannot stand – like being shut in the dark.
When Marek and Fiona become not only a couple but a baby is expected, both children must face enormous upheavals in their lives. Fiona and Tom move into the little cottage, where the box room becomes a nursery and the spare room is turned into Tom’s bedroom. While both children fervently wish there was no baby and that things would go back to the way they were, they each have very different ways of responding. It will take a lot of time and learning to trust and, most of all, understanding for this family to consolidate.
While the specific circumstances may vary, there would be many children who find themselves in this same kind of predicament with a blended family situation and a new half-sibling arriving and each child will react differently but there is no doubt that this narrative will resonate with many.
It is a thoroughly splendid read and I highly recommend it for readers from around ten years upwards.