By Lara Williamson, Cover Illustration by Julie McLaughlin, Published by Usborne
Sadly I must admit I haven’t read any of Lara Williamson’s previous books and I know now that I am missing out on amazing stories. Cue me rushing to the library to borrow the others.
This book had me smiling, giggling and crying within the pages. It is heartfelt, honest and hopeful.
Mabel and Topaz are sisters living with their mum. Dad is not with them and, as the reader, we are not sure where he is. New boyfriend Gavin is in the picture and things are getting serious. He is spending more and more time with the family but Topaz is untrusting. She finds reasons to dislike Gavin and brings Mabel into the fold. Mabel likes Gavin and shares a keen interest in astronomy with him and finds she can bond with him easily. She is torn between her like of Gavin and her relationship with her sister.
So much happens to Mabel and Topaz throughout the book and both are carrying heavy, emotional suitcases neither realising how the other is struggling. It takes an accident for truths to be shared and problems halved. At times a gripping emotional tale of young girls and what they carry with them everywhere.
As schools deal with mental health and multiple issues surrounding young people, this book made it clear how easy it can be to assume that someone is alright, especially if they are quiet or seem to be happy. I love the character of Mabel and her trusting and innocent instincts balancing Topaz and her trust issues in the fight to save their mother’s heart from a breakup.
Five stars from me and one I will be recommending to all my schools. A perfect book to reach out to students who may also be weighed down with a worry suitcase.