#BookReview DEAR EDWARD by ANN NAPOLITANO

ABOUT THE BOOK

A heart-wrenching, life-affirming novel about a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a deadly plane crash

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 187 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.

Dear Edward recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?’

PUBLISHED BY VIKING

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

An exquisite story about an extraordinary little boy who is dealing with being the only survivor on a plane crash that killed 191 others, including his mum, dad and brother. Just how do you pick yourself up aged 12 after something so tragic, and how do you make sense of a world around you that sees you as a miracle child.

The story is told in the present and past – we see the story unfold as everyone boards the plane and we get to know the other passengers as everyone goes about their business as normal. There’s those hiding secrets, those moving on to new lives – nothing really out of the ordinary, especially with Edward and his family who are heading to Los Angeles, and the bond between them all is clear for all to see. Which makes it even more heartbreaking when we read the ‘now’ story with Edward having to deal with now living with his Aunt and Uncle in a new town, and being the focus of media attention from around the world. He finds comfort in the next door neighbours – Besa and her daughter Shay – and with them he finds peace and feels safe. His life is still pretty traumatic as he is losing weight as the survivor guilt seems to have left him unable to stomach many foods and reading about his struggle is often heartbreaking. You just want to dive in the pages and give him a big hug!

As time goes by he speaks to a therapist and begins to find ways of accepting what happened and I love seeing his journey , especially the role that Shay plays in his life. She compares his journey to that of Harry Potter and the bond between them is very sweet. And as the drama plays out on the plane journey before the crash, it just shows how quickly life can change.

A lovely story beautifully told! Highly recommended! 

★★★★★

#BookReview MIRACLE ON CHERRY HILL by SUN-MI HWANG

ABOUT THE BOOK

Celebrated bestselling author Sun-mi Hwang is back with a heartwarming new novel about renewal and friendship.

This is the story of a man named Kang Dae-su. His whole life is a miracle, rising from poverty to running a successful construction company. In his twilight years, Kang is diagnosed with a brain tumour. He returns to his childhood home of Cherry Hill. He acquires a crumbling old house in which to retreat from the world, yet the residents of the town have other plans. They seem hell-bent on intruding on Kang’s private property. But who does the house, and Cherry Hill, really belong to? Is it owned by the construction company who is trying to rejuvenate the neighbourhood? Or does it belong to the residents who have used the land to play, think, walk, love and explore for generations? And how is the bitter and despondent Kang’s childhood tied to this magical place?

Miracle on Cherry Hill is a redemptive story of a damaged man regaining his trust in humanity. It explores the fragility of nature and human lives and is much-loved classic in South Korea. Includes beautiful illustrations inside.

PUBLISHED BY ABACUS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

WHSmith

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Stunner of a little book that gives you all the feels! It’s always a delight to read a story that is told in a gentle way and features a character who is returning ‘home’ with the intention of seeing out his last days all alone, but he finds that the home he remembers has been reclaimed by the community. This angers him to begin with, but as he starts to spend time amongst the young and old who use his land for a variety of daily activities, he begins to soften his approach to what he perceives as a harsh world and embraces the warmth he receives from the local community.

The way that Kang deals with his illness by addressing ‘Sir Lump’ is a really clever way of telling his story and the way he looks back on his memories trying to make peace with them. That’s why he wanted to spend time alone, but seeing the world through the eyes of others allows him to take on new things to pass his days. Through talking to others he gets to learn more about himself as a person and the past that he thought he remembered has light shed on it.

There are no big shocks, no twists and turns but it was a beautiful little book that was easy to read and one I’ll be going back to over time.

★★★★