This is an absolutely charming book.
Set on a strawberry farm over the course of one weekend, this novel follows twelve year old Darby as things start to (literally and metaphorically) fall apart in her life. A tornado is coming, and so is her sister Kaydee’s difficult friend Lissa. All Darby wants to do is the annual chocolate egg hunt.
Darby has Down’s Syndrome and its clear that Cottrill has done her research into life as someone with Down’s Syndrome, producing a point of view narrative that feels real – and very close to good autistic character voices, which makes me wonder if Darby is supposed to be dual diagnosis. Sorry autism distraction!
In a short novel and one small weekend, Cottrill manages to incorporate jealousy, secrets and truths, hidden romance, financial fears and a lot of shouting. I’m really impressed by this lovely little novel that affirms that disabled people have our own wants, desires, personalities without patronising the reader or getting it wildly wrong.
Not only that but this is a middle grade novel with a lesbian couple that also deals with coming out to parents and siblings – normally a narrative reserved for older readers books. All in all, I’m really impressed and will be seeking out more of Cottrill’s books.
This is a great novel to buy a child (I feel from age 9 upwards) especially if they want to understand people with Down’s Syndrome, learning disabilities and autism better, as well as being just a lovely, captivating story. Darby is a warm loving person who I loved reading about, and honestly I’d read a whole series about her.
Interested? Get it here.
What to read next:
- How to Look for a Lost Dog by Ann M. Martin
- The Girl in Between by Sarah Carroll
- The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Thank you kindly to the team at Bonnier Zaffre and Piccadilly Press for sharing this book with me.