‘Caramel Hearts’ by E.R. Murray

This delicious book came with me on holiday – even superheroes need a break!  I whiled away my time on the plane dreaming of Lovers’ Lemon and Choc-Chip Shortbread and Raspberry Fool – all the time hoping that life would soon get better for Liv.

As if life for a fourteen-year-old girl isn’t complicated enough, Liv has the added pressures of a father who walked out when she was young and a mother in a recovery centre for alcoholics.  Her older sister is finding it hard to cope with balancing her university studies and playing mum so social services are watching them closely.

Not being very popular at school, Liv’s only source of advice and consolation is her long-time best friend, Sarah.  What with that, avoiding the school bully and a love rivalry, Liv has her hands full.

However, one day she discovers a book of recipes handwritten by her mum in happier times.  Liv sets out to recreate these recipes, hoping they’ll make her feel closer to her mum.  Little does she know they’ll help set her off on a journey of self-discovery and win over new friends and family along the way.

This book deals cleverly with complex and potentially challenging issues affecting a lot of other young teens in similar situations to Liv – not knowing if there’s washing powder to clean your clothes or enough food in the cupboard to make your next meal.  From being excluded and bullied at school to setting in motion a chain of events which seem to spiral out of your control.

It’s really important that books like this are written for young adults as it allows them to explore situations and get advice in a non-threatening manner.

Although covering a range of issues, there are plenty of light-hearted and comic moments to enjoy.  At the soft, sweet, delicious heart of the story are the recipes Liv tries to recreate and the impact they start to have on her life.  I defy you not to either be hungry/ be inspired to bake after finishing this story!

Library Girl (currently rummaging in her baking cupboard for candied violet petals.)

*Thank you to Alma Books for sending me this copy to review*


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