AUTHOR = LUCY CHRISTOPHER
GENRE = FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS, GROWING UP
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 AND UP
Isla and her father have a passion for swans, especially the whoopers who migrate to their town at the beginning of every winter. It is whilst chasing these glorious birds together that her father suddenly has a heart attack and is rushed to hospital. Here Isla meets Harry, a stoic young cancer patient whose friendship comforts her as she struggles to cope with her father’s illness and impending operation. Harry takes over as Isla’s companion in tending to a young swan who has landed in a lake near the hospital.
Isla is struggling to cope at school since her best friend, Saskia moved away. Her one solace is her school Art project based on the theme of flight. As Isla has based her project on swans, she is hoping that it will keep up her father’s spirits. But she soon discovers that her swan-model does more than this: it brings her closer to both her grandfather and Harry and it helps her save the young swan. Her schoolmates also learn to respect her more, once they see the beauty of her creation. In many ways, the swan model also saves Isla, as it gives her a focus that enables her to cope with the heartbreak of having a father and a friend who are seriously ill.
This is a beautifully written story: it unfolds in a slow and gentle manner, it is moving without being melancholy. The chapters are short and simple to read and the pretty scene of the flying bird, which heads each chapter, adds to the beauty of the story. It is no surprise that it has already been shortlisted for a number of awards.
Highly Recommended (dma) *****