English / Ireland
Finding a voice
Hood, Kim (text)
Dublin: The O’Brien Press, 2014. – 232 p.
Mental illness – Responsibility – Disability – Friendship – Kidnapping – Communication
“One, two, three, four. I started counting the steps as soon as my feet left the drive.” Jo’s life is a difficult balancing act. At home she constantly fears that her behavior will fail to keep her mentally ill mother stable. At school, she is bullied or ignored so that she bottles up her despair and loneliness. Chris suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a huge padded wheelchair without any means of communication. When the two teenagers start spending time together, Jo soon senses that there is more to Chris than meets the eye. Being used to see to others’ needs, she is determined to help him find a voice. Kim Hood’s debut novel discusses a couple of difficult themes in a sensitive way without being an “issue book”. Both her main protagonists are well rounded, likable characters with their own specific voices. The suspenseful and engaging narrative proves to readers that real friendship may be found in unexpected places and that it takes courage to accept help from outside. (Age: 13+)