Monday, 11 June 2018

Blog Tour: Competition + review for Across The Divide by Anne Booth (Young Adult, 10E/10E)

 3rd May 2018, Catnip Press, 104 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Book summary from the press release
From the author of Girl With a White Dog which was nominated for the Carnegie and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, ACROSS THE DIVIDE  tackles very contemporary topics such as pacifism, respect for different points of view, divorce, friendship and more. All seen through the eyes of young Olivia whose strong personality works as a perfect inspiration for girls who want follow their dreams and helps to celebrate 100 years of suffragettes in 2018.
Olivia lives with her mum and her grandparents. She has a relatively normal modern family. The opening of a new Army cadets unit causes turmoil both at home and at school. Olivia wants to join, a decision her ex-army grandfather supports, but her pacifist mother is ardently opposed. Her best friend Aiden also disagrees with her decision causing tension in their friendship. When her mum is imprisoned for leading a pacifist protest, Olivia is forced to spend time with her dad who lives on Lindesfarne. The island feels far away and detached from the mainland, almost magical. And even William, a young boy she meets there seems different...
Is her mum ever going to be released? And what will Olivia do with her Future?

Nayu's thoughts
Ever since I was little I always wanted to join the army - due to my permanent health issues I couldn't join the cadets, so was instantly interested in what Olivia would get up to if she's able to join. While the story focused more on the issue of Olivia wanting to join against her mother's wishes, and how she had to live with her dad I still absolutely loved the story. There's a lot of emotion, as a reader twice Olivia's age (I think, my maths isn't great) there were times when I saw her youth being a factor in her actions, and other times she was being so grown up and brave I wanted to hug her. She is in a tough situation, all she'd like to be is 'normal' (which doesn't exist but I think you know that fitting in with what normality looks like to you can be what you aspire to, especially when young) and she finds it hard having to fight for her thoughts and feelings to be heard (possibly ironic since her mother doesn't believe in fighting)

The book gently teaches a lot about previous wars - upon finishing it I went and Googled white poppies and purple poppies for the service animals (which seems a bit more controversial than the red poppies (& the white). I know that some public figures have to wear them regardless of if they agree with red poppies, and a lot of people do wear them. I generally don't wear one, but not because I don't  believe in them it's just an extra thing that uses my energy which is in short supply so I simply don't bother making sure it's on whatever I'm wearing each day. This year I am knitting a few poppies for my local area as part of the 100 year anniversary of the First World War. I don't feel this clashes with my Muslim beliefs, and am happy to help out my local craft group. It has been years (and years) since I studied the World Wars at school. I was never all that intrested and found it an upsetting subject, but again because of reading Olivia's tale I did Google what happened in the war so I knew what was going on. I kind of wish I hadn't done that because it is so sad, but I feel proud for all those who defended our freedom. 

I like how as well as the whole cadet issue, and pacifism, there's the issue of what happens when a young person's parent/family member gets sent to prison. That itself is a tricky situation, poor Olivia had several of them altogether. I was thrilled that her grandparents were so supportive - she was a bit sneaky in the way she handled one or two parts of the plot, and honestly I had no idea how the story could end with everyone being vaguely satisfied by Olivia's choice. I loved the ending which was realistic but a generally positive surprise. 

I liked how Quakers get involved in the plot, because I can't think of a single book that I've read where that particular Christian denomination was used as part of the plot. I'm not a dog lover but I loved how Olivia had doggy companionship when times were tough - pets are the best! I confess to guessing fairly quickly who William was: he is an intriguing character that adds a lot of drama to Olivia's life. 

This is what I'd call an issues book, so don't read it if you're in the mood for something light and fluffy, but I highly recommend it because it made me reflect on a lot of things which I think some of the books we read should do. 

ACROSS THE DIVIDE by Anne Booth is out now in paperback (£6.99, Catnip Publishing)

Follow Anne Booth @Bridgeanne and Catnip @catnipbooks for more information

Suggested read
Another awesome war themed read (without too much of the war) with a strong heroine is School for Skylarks by Sam Angus (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

Competition Time

Here's Anne!
If you like the sound of Across The Divide then please fill in the Rafflecopter form below to be in with a chance of winning a copy from Catnip Books! It is an international competition: if you are outside the UK you can enter! It will just take a bit longer for the book to reach you because I'll recieve it first then send it on. The competition will last two weeks, ending 12 am (00:00) BST on Monday 25th June. The winner will be contacted within 2 days of the closing; I don't put time limits on emailing me back with your details so the book can be sent to you since not everyone can check emails daily. I know there have been new data laws, I will only ask for emails so I can quickly contact the winner, and will delete the details once the book has been sent. I never share any info with anyone else. 
This can be yours!

No comments: