Family isn’t limited to those connected by blood; sometimes it includes the people who are dearest to you.
Hazel leaves her mother and the bustle of London to live with her father, whom she’s just met, in a large house by the ocean in Queensland, Australia. Her father is genuinely happy to have the chance to get to know her, and although her first week at her new school isn’t without a few snags, Hazel’s classmates Maddie and Hunter welcome her with warmth and friendliness. She also befriends her neighbor, gay artist Red. The three help ease Hazel’s loneliness, but she longs for the day she can return to London and her mum. Red struggles with the theme of his big art project—family—for his is fractured. His mother tries hard to keep the peace, and his father works away from home most of the time. His fraternal twin brother, Luca, is withdrawn and angry; he hasn’t healed from the death of his best friend the year before. Themes of family, hope, and love permeate the novel as the three teens try to move forward with their lives, never forgetting those who are most important. Third-person narration is shared among Hazel, Red, and Luca and is interspersed with letters of childhood memories that Hazel writes to her mother. All characters are assumed white.
Sweet but never sappy; heartbreaking but always hopeful. (Fiction. 14-18)