Blog Tour: Shimmer – Alan Meredith

*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Zoé of Zooloo’s Book Tours.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: Lyla is having the worst year of her life and then her Mum announces they are moving to a strange new town. The only silver lining is the signs that a cat has made itself home in the new house. Lyla quickly finds out though that Shimmer is no ordinary cat….

Suitable for ages 8 to 108.

This is a short, middle-grade-aimed book about a young girl dealing with a family bereavement and the very special cat that helps her to begin processing her loss.

Despite being short in length, the story packs a lot of emotion within its pages, as Lyla and her mother both struggle to cope with the loss of her father in isolation, and Lyla additionally has to deal with bullying and physical fights at school. Even more upsetting for Lyla (and potentially the reader) is the issue of animal death that comes up more than once in the story, so young cat-lovers may find some parts of the book distressing. That noted, the heart of this story is about processing death and grief in a healthier manner and in that context, the subject matter is well-handled and appropriate, forming a good discussion point for talking to middle-grade children upwards about death of a loved one or loved pet. I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed a few tears at the thought of my own cats at some points in the story!

The middle-section provided a clever twist, as we get to see the world from a new and unexpected perspective, and the writing really lets you see, hear and feel the woods, the rain, the predatory perils.

As with the other book I have read from this author, Midas, Alan Meredith does a fantastic job of portraying how a relationship between child and parent can be a close and loving one and yet still become strained to breaking point by external pressures. And he also shows that, no matter how bad things get, such a relationship can still be rescued with love, communication and understanding on both sides. Yet he manages this without ‘preaching’ – letting the characters and their actions tell the story.

This is a magical, emotional story about our bonds with those we love and those we lose and is suitable for middle-grade readers up… but cat-lovers may want to keep the tissues handy!

‘”Mum, don’t you see? This is our chance to get our own cat. We can look after it and make sure nothing bad ever happens to her.”

“Lyla, you can’t stop bad things from happening.”

“Please Mum. She would be company for both of us and I’ve got no friends here.”

“No Lyla.”

“Mum, come on. Please. If you are worried about the extra work then I could do it. Litter trays, food…”

“I said no Lyla.”

“You owe me a cat, Mum. Especially after what happened to Dad…”

Our voices had slowly been getting louder but Mum hit the highest number of decibels when she screamed, “We are not getting a cat! We are never getting a cat! I am not losing anymore loved ones!”

– Alan Meredith, Shimmer

Author Bio

Alan Meredith lives in sleepy West Sussex with his wife and two children.  He relocated there after suffering a psychosis back in 2000. Writing stories was a childhood love that he lost as he mistakenly believed that imagination had no place in the grown up world.

He likes taking reality and weaving fantastical elements into it.  Alan’s writing reflects his belief that life is a journey of highs and lows and the idea that ‘life should be fair’ is an unrealistic expectation to give anyone, especially kids.  If you are looking for the sugar coated ‘Happy Ever After’ you have come to the wrong place.

You can follow Alan Meredith on Facebook and Goodreads.

Shimmer is available on Amazon right now!

Don’t forget to check out the other blog stops on the tour for more great reviews and content (see the posters below for details)!


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