You just know that any book whose tagline is: ‘A hilarious story of LOLs, llamas, dramas and finding your voice,’ is going to be a quirky, joyous read!
Yasmin lives in a very loud house in the East End of London, full of bustling aunties trying to force her into sequinned dresses, annoying brothers playing pranks, and a slightly mangy toy llama who appears to be able to talk! The latter had been hastily stuffed into her wardrobe after its purchase by a well-meaning aunt.
After a particularly disastrous birthday tea, Yasmin seeks a moment’s peace and quiet in her attic bedroom, but is rudely interrupted by a ruckus coming from her wardrobe. Following a brief tussle involving a tennis racket and a laundry basket, Yasmin finds herself conversing with a rather cheeky ‘toy’ llama. Levi (as the llama is named), is determined to help Yasmin find her voice in the swirling chaos of her household.
Like the very best of books in this age range, the story has heart and depth (as well as humour) and is packed with illustrations and comic book pages to help bring the story to life.
I loved the story’s introduction which rooted you squarely in the busy, bustle, diverse East End of London. I could imagine myself on Brick Lane smelling all the delicious food and marvelling at the rainbow of fabrics in the shop windows.
Yasmin is a character with whom I immediately sympathised – overlooked and unintentionally forced into silence by the rest of her household, quiet and isolated at school. But she is not a victim. Yasmin is fierce and clever! And determined to shake off the decidedly ‘love him or hate him’ character of Levi the loud mouthed llama!
The story was also an interesting exploration of family dynamics in a large, busy household. As the youngest daughter, Yasmin was expected to be obedient and hard-working. The antics of Levi seemed to do very little to help her cause and at times her aunties were also very little help. I’m sure lots of readers will be able to empathise with Yasmin’s feelings of anger and frustration.
Book Boy (who read this in an afternoon) rather cryptically said: “Brilliant but sad,” when I asked him for a review. Why? I guess you’ll have to read the book and find out!
*Many thanks to Egmont Publishing for having me on this blog tour*