Synopses & Reviews
It's how you look at it. . . .
Someone shoves a photo negative into Rowan's hands. She is distracted but, frankly, she has larger problems to worry about. Her brother is dead. Her father has left. Her mother won't get out of bed. She has to take care of her younger sister. And keep it all together . . .
But Rowan is curious about the mysterious boy and the negative. Who is he? Why did he give it to her? The mystery only deepens when the photo is developed and the inconceivable appears.
Everything is about to change for Rowan. . . . Finally, something positive is in her life.
Award-winning author Jenny Valentine delivers a powerful and life-affirming story of grief, friendship, and healing that will resonate long after the last page.
"Valentine's second novel (following the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winner Me, the Missing, and the Dead) focuses on British teenager Rowan and her younger sister, Stroma, who are left to fend for themselves following their older brother Jack's sudden death two years earlier. Their parents having since divorced, Rowan must care for Stroma and their depressed mother. Rowan continues to find herself lonely and overwhelmed; 'It's hard to adjust your eyes to something that's dark where it should be light,' she reflects while staring at a negative she is given, which turns out to be a photo of her brother. A chance encounter with Harper, a world traveler who lands in her town, leads her to meeting lively Bee and developing a whole new 'family' ('Some families we get without asking, while others we choose. And I chose those two'). The story is delicately written, and mysteries and revelations involving Jack propel it forward. A solid tale of what it takes to grow up and how to ask for help. Ages 14 up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“This is rich, satisfying storytelling, indeed.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] warm, graceful first person narrative…readers will stick by Rowan as she builds sustaining new relationships.” Horn Book Magazine
“Give this poignant, rewarding story to teens who need books dealing with grief who crave romance amid tragedy and hardship.” School Library Journal
“Most enjoyable: a life-affirming, witty, romantic read, about freedom, responsibility and love.” Sunday Times (London)
“Completely gorgeous. A tremendously sympathetic and engaging central character and huge dollops of intense love and pain. This book has it all.” www.thebookbag.co.uk
“The story is delicately written. A solid tale of what it takes to grow up and how to ask for help.” Publishers Weekly
“The language is simple, but its crafting is deft and emotional. Rowan herself is a believable blend of heroic and desperate, and the book is particularly perceptive.” Bulletin of the Center for Children & #8217;s Books (starred review)
About the Author
Jenny Valentine worked in a food shop for fifteen years, where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic bread than there are words in her first book. She studied English literature at Goldsmith's College, which almost made her stop reading but not quite. Her debut novel, Me, the Missing, and the Dead, won the prestigious Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in the UK under the title Finding Violet Park. Jenny is married to a singer/songwriter and has two children. She lives in Hay on Wye, England.