*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author and Amazon’s Vine Programme. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: This place is magic . . . but it’s not the sort of magic that comes from wands and spells . . .
Can piecing together the past help you change the present?
Safiya and her mum have never seen eye to eye. Her mum doesn’t understand Safiya’s love of gaming and Safiya doesn’t think they have anything in common. As Safiya struggles to fit in at school she wonders if her mum wishes she was more like her confident best friend Elle. But then her mum falls into a coma and, when Safiya waits by her bedside, she finds herself in a strange and magical world that looks a bit like one of her games. And there’s a rebellious teenage girl, with a secret, who looks suspiciously familiar . . .
A Pocketful of Stars is a painful, beautiful story about the gaps that can form in our relationships as we grow and change, and whether those gaps can (or should) be held together.
Charting Safiya’s struggles with growing up, and the changes it brings to her relationship with her best friend and with her mother, the author perfectly captures the awkward, lonely feeling of being poised between girl and woman, and not knowing where you fit with others or in your own skin.
Safiya’s lost feelings are amplified when her mother falls ill after an argument – a common tragedy that haunts my nightmares! – and she is no longer there to push against. Faced with the sudden reality of her mother’s life as an individual, pre-daughter, Safiya has to learn to listen more to those she cares about, but also to speak up for herself when things aren’t right.
There is so much heartbreak here: Aminah’s coma, school bullying, lost friendships and isolation. But there is also joy, as Safiyah follows her heart and forges new friendships, finding strength she didn’t know she had, and coming closer to her mother as she finds herself.
I would definitely recommend this to middle-grade and above, particularly to girls (and women!), who may recognise these emotions and experiences, and feel comforted and inspired in their own life choices.
Ever since Mum and Dad divorced, and I decided to live with Dad, they set up these Saturday visits as part of the custody agreement. Mum and I hang out in the afternoon, and then we have dinner together and a sleepover. Usually Mum cooks, sometimes it’s a takeaway, but it’s always just been the two of us.
I can’t help but think that maybe Elle’s the daughter Mum should’ve had, the daughter she would’ve wanted.
But instead she ended up with me.
– Aisha Bushby, A Pocketful of Stars
A Pocketful of Stars is available on Amazon (and at other good bookshops) right now!