This book is just a little bit special. It beautifully melds a touching story about the struggles between a mother and a daughter who’s growing up with a strong fantasy/ gaming theme. Unlike anything I’ve read before but totally enchanting.
*UPDATE* Aisha’s wonderful book has just been nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2020 – congratulations!
Safiya is just an average school girl trying to navigate her way around friendship issues and her parents being separated. She and her mum may not always see eye-to-eye, but they love each other and Safiya knows that her mum only has her best interests at heart.
However, when her mum has an accident and falls into a coma following a particularly bad argument, Safiya feels responsible and desperately wants to make amends for her actions. What follows is a race against time to uncover secrets from her mum’s childhood and discover the objects which may help bring her back.
What’s unique this book is that it combines a beautiful story about family, friendship and finding yourself alongside a highly imaginative gaming/ dream-sequence thread. In my podcast interview with Aisha, I discovered that the gaming theme was only added during final edits after a night playing Zelda. You can listen to the whole interview HERE.
The strong quest element to this story and the clever use of flashbacks to mum’s childhood would make this an interesting text to study with pupils. The setting descriptions (based on memories from the author’s own childhood) are vividly composed and give a fantastic sense of place – I could almost feel the heat of the sun on my skin and smell the perfume in the air.
A wonderful read for children aged 9+
*Many thanks to Egmont for sending me this title to review*