A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
Young sisters Hannah and Abi are faced with a dilemma that would not be wished on anyone. How do they help their seriously ill mother who is in desperate need of life-saving and expensive treatment in America when all they have is their pocket money?
Perhaps their love of music will help them but can they do anything in time?
First off, I’ll come clean and say that Graham Sclater is a writing friend of mine and we’ve even at one point in our careers shared a publisher. Nonetheless at the start of January when I read this, I was in the mood for some fun reading matter and this very much fitted the bill. Yes, it’s a children’s book but none the worse for it. I enjoyed meeting Hannah and Abi, their family and friends, and seeing them through their trials and tribulations as they try to work out how best to help their seriously ailing mother.
The book is not afraid to give us multiple viewpoints too, but it’s subtly done and in a manner which deepens and enhances the story. I particularly liked the fact that we get an occasional adult-eye view also, from Hannah’s and Abi’s father, and also from the father of their best friend, Rosie. This helps to cement the fact that the book does deal with the big issues of life, such as illness, the possibility of death, and the issues adults have in conveying bad news to children. I thought that was a brave choice and it worked.
There are also several interesting glimpses into the music world, a world the author knows very well as he works as a music publisher and songwriter, and was himself a touring musician for many years. I enjoyed the way modern music is a key aspect of the plot, as the two sisters embark on a mission to write an award-winning song in order to pay for their mother’s medical fees.
Speaking of the plot, it’s a little slow at the start but once it gets going, I was keen to know how Hannah and Abi resolved their problems, especially when faced with the deviousness of Rosie’s brother Josh. I was up in arms about him on their behalf (the cad! The bounder!), especially as the difficulties continued for some time, thus cleverly adding to the tension. That said, Josh is quite funny when we first meet him and this brotherly view of his sister and her friends made me smile:
One girl in the house was bad enough and he was glad to be rid of his younger sister for a few weeks. But no sooner had she gone, the very next day two more arrived uninvited.
Lovely, and so true!
I would have preferred however a greater emphasis on some of the key plot twists and felt we could well have spent more time on the developing relationship between Hannah, Abi and Rosie. I also thought we didn’t quite finish dealing with Josh at the end, though I appreciate it’s a children book and thus the emphasis will be different. That said, the resolution is neat and more than appropriate, with music unfailingly at its heart, and what could be nicer or more satisfying? It was fun, lively and gave me a great deal of pleasure.
We’re Gonna Be Famous, Tabitha Books 2010, ASIN: B004HO5U78 (for the Kindle) or ISBN: 978-0956397706
[Anne enjoys music and has always found it something of a life-saving experience herself. She is hugely impressed by anyone who can make their business in it.]
I love books with music as the theme, and this sounds like an intriguingly warm and wonderful read. Thanks for the review, Anne! Arresting cover art, too.
Sounds like it deals with a serious subject in a novel & light-hearted way. And now, of course, I want to know how it turns out. Do the girls win the contest? Do they get the money for their mom’s treatment? Does their mom get better?
I always like how your reviews explain the plots of books, but never give away the endings.
The cover is engaging & retro looking, too.
Thanks, Hilary & Jackie – and yes it’s definitely a warm-hearted read! And I do love that cover too 🙂
Sounds really good, about this time of year I like easy reads with a warm-heart. But how old are Abi and Hannah? On the front cover they look about 8ish (I’m terrible with ages) but from your review I sense they’re older?
Ooh, I’m hopeless with ages, Nikki – but I think about 8 and 6! 🙂