July 2015, Oxford University Press, 252 pages, Paperback, review from NetGalley
Content: families, friendship, being ill, humour, tissues needed
Summary from Oxford University Press
Willow's life is turned upside down when she meets her dad for the first time and discovers she has a family she knew nothing about, including a half-sister who is seriously ill and needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. Is Willow brave enough to help the sister she's never known and open up her world to a whole new family?
Having a secret sister who needs Willow's help makes for a turbulent time. I admired Willow's spirit. She has to deal with two major life changing news: 1) the identity of her dad & 2) her far from happy to sister needs her help. I fully understood why Willow had such high hopes as to how things would be with her new hidden family – of course everyone would want to get along, right? Of course her half-sister Bella would be sweet and lovely like Beth from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott who also gets sick (Willow is given it to read to help her writing talent)?
Wrong. Bella is a madam and then some. I sensed way before the revelation happens that part of Bella's attitude issues are to do with being sick (being sick does involve some anger and frustration at not being able to do what others do/what you used to do. I've been there, and probably will go there again in the future). The change which Bella undergoes is wonderful to watch. The way she finally relates to blog writing Willow was touching and made me need a tissue. I'm sure the concept of Willow's blog will attract a fair few readers who'll wonder what content she puts on the blog.
The emotions Willow has towards her father while she's having to decide whether to help her horrible half sister or not are raw and true. You don't have to experience what Willow is to understand and relate to the strong feelings and confusion which Willow has inside her. It's very much a family themed books, with all sorts of emotions explored through Willow's scenario. I wanted to shout when she tells her friends the truth, because I knew they'd be rooting for her no matter what her decision is. Keep hanging in until the end where there is a happily ever after!
Find out more on Jess's website.
Available at bookstores including NRC affiliate Foyles.
Although quite different concept the first book which came into my head for a suggestion was Worry Magic by Dawn McNiff (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)