by Jenny Valentine
Summary: When the good-looking boy with the American accent presses the dropped negative into Rowan's hand, she's sure it's all a big mistake. But next moment he's gone, lost in the crowd of bustling shoppers. And she can't afford to lose her place in the checkout queue -- after all, if she doesn't take the groceries home, nobody else will.
Rowan has more responsibilities than most girls her age. These days, she pretty much looks after her little sister single-handedly -- which doesn't leave much time for friends or fun. So when she finds out that Bee from school saw the whole thing, it piques her curiosity. Who was the boy? Why was he so insistent that the negative belonged to Rowan?
This book has put Jenny Valentine on my instant read list, it was brilliant. It managed to make me cry both sad and happy tears and not many books can do that - especially the happy tears.
The funny thing is, even if this book has a really sad subject matter, I wouldn’t really say it’s a sad book. It’s more… real and, well, hopeful. And I think I needed to read something like that right now because all of the books about sad things I’ve been reading recently have left me feeling emotionally drained and torn to shreds -- this book broke me a little, but it fixed me even more (if that makes sense?).
I literally adored all of the characters, none of them were perfect and I loved that. I even loved Stroma and Sonny, which is strange because often when little kids are in stories I will be bored or annoyed by them and find myself wanting to skip over those parts to get to the drama or romance or whatever, but this book was one of the rare exceptions.
The story had the perfect balance of family, friendship and romance. I admit, I usually favour the romance in stories, but all of the aspects of this book were so well done that I just liked it all and I wasn’t reading just for one specific part. (Although, as far as the romance goes, it has to be said that there are two very lovely boys in the book: Rowan’s brother, who we only get to see second hand and past tense, and Harper.)
Also has to be mentioned: Jenny’s writing. I love the way she writes, she has a distinct style and I found myself fumbling around in the dark (I read by tiny torchlight) trying to find scraps of paper to bookmark a whole bunch of pages with quotes I liked, so much of the book was just really quotable. I love quotable books.
The book was set in the UK too, which makes me loving it even more surprising because I can count on one hand the amount of UK set books that I’ve completely loved (well, if I get to count the Harry Potter series as one instead of seven). The UK-ness of it not only didn’t bother me, but I actually really liked it.
…I guess I should stop gushing now, but really, the book was awesome and I regret not reading it sooner -- it had been on my to buy list for so long and other people had told me it was a good book but I procrastinated buying it until recently and well, I just wish I had read it sooner. Go read it!