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Book Review: Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott

Dandelion ClocksTitle: Dandelion Clocks
Author: Rebecca Westcott
Series: 
Pages:  255
Publisher: Puffin
Date of Publication: 6th March, 2014
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from back of book:
I gather up the first collection of photographs of my mum and flick through...
What all these pictures have in common is they show how Mum lives every day - like it really, really matters.


Mum's suddenly started giving me life's vital lessons: how to make Bolognese sauce, how to put on make-up, how to make rules my brother can cope with...

She's even given me her old diaries. They're really funny - and actually sort of helpful.

But I feel like there's something she's not telling me...


My Thoughts:
Dandelion Clocks is a really great book for young people. It's aimed a lot younger than my usual YA reads, but I enjoyed it hugely nonetheless. Despite tackling a difficult subject matter, Rebecca Westcott has written a brilliant debut that is heartbreaking but still funny at times, one that fills you with hope and warmth. An excellent read, not to be missed!

Before I started, I knew this was a middle grade book, but it reads a lot younger than I expected it to, which surprised me at first and meant that it took a little while for me to get used to it. About fifty pages in however I was fully engrossed in Liv's story and was both dreading and looking forward to reading more. It's clear from the start that something is very wrong with Liv's mum, but the details are not revealed until well into the book, and even then the exact details of her illness are not revealed completely. This meant that it was really easy to connect with Liv and understand her frustration and difficulty in trying to work out what was happening to her and her mum.

Liv was a really great main character and I think that Westcott did a great job writing her very realistically. I found her a little bit irritating but I think that might have been because she was so young and I generally find eleven year old girls really annoying when they are so overdramatic and obsessed with boys. Not gonna lie, I missed out the obsessed with boys phase but I was very melodramatic as an eleven year old so I'm allowed to say that :P Anyway, the fact that she was a little irritating probably means that actually she was written really well, in a roundabout kind of way… ;)

Liv's brother, Isaac, has Asperger's Syndrome and I think Rebecca Westcott dealt with this issue incredibly well. Despite being the younger of the two, Liv has to look after Isaac and make sure that he's comfortable and happy, and has to help him adjust to all the new rules that will have to be made due to his mother's illness. I admired her strength and patience when looking after him, even if she couldn't contain her frustration at times. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to be in her situation, however I felt her courage and bravery throughout the novel and was inspired because of it.

The last thing I want to say is that I cried like a baby. More than once. When her mum gives Liv her diaries and teaches her to do her make up and all the things she'll do when she's older I could see what was coming and I knew I wasn't going to make it to the end without shedding (lots of) tears. And I was right… Let's just say don't read it in public! Don't let that stop you though - it's well worth those tears!

Dandelion Clocks was a really great middle grade read that I won't forget in a hurry. It made me cry but it also made me laugh, and it's well written and tackles difficult subjects in a way that is accessible and suitable for a younger audience. I definitely recommend you give it a read and watch out for Rebecca Westcott in the future, as I think you'll be seeing a lot more of her work!


*Huge thanks to Puffin for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. 


Comments

  1. I adored this one too.

    I echo your thoughts on the inclusion of Isaac too, and how his character was handled so well. His Aspergers was seen as a part of family life, an accepted fact, perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks great! Sometimes a book that gives you a good cry is just what you need!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi just found your blog and I really think its great just followed you to! I was wondering if you could follow my blog as I have just started ( just posted a review on the fault in our stars ) it. Thanks for you time!!
    http://bookbonanzablog.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete

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