Beautifully written story about grief that reminds us that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
A Library of Lemons Summary
Calypso’s mum died a few years ago and her emotionally incompetent Dad can’t, or won’t, talk about Mum at all. Instead he throws himself into writing his book A History of the Lemon. Meanwhile the house is dusty, there’s never any food in the fridge, and Calypso retreats into her own world of books and fiction.
When a new girl, Mae, arrives at school, the girls’ shared love of reading and writing stories draws them together. Mae’s friendship and her lively chaotic home – where people argue and hug each other – make Calypso feel more normal than she has for a long time.
But when Calypso finally plucks up the courage to invite Mae over to her own house, the girls discover the truth about her dad and his magnum opus – and Calypso’s happiness starts to unravel.
A Library of Lemons Review
A Library of Lemons broke my heart and then put it back together again. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it even half as much as I did. It’s a gorgeous, emotional exploration of loss and grief, reminding us how important to consider everyone involved and offer the support they need, whether they’re young or old or anywhere in between.
Jo Cotterill has done a wonderful job of describing various forms of grief in a simple and relatable way, subtly encouraging anyone suffering to open up to those around them and reassuring them that there is hope.
Calypso is a fantastic character to get to know. She’s so strong and brave, but also lonely and vulnerable in a horrible situation that no one her age should have to endure. The importance of stories and reading to Calypso, her father and Mae makes this a real book-lovers novel, too.
I’d recommend A Library of Lemons to teachers, or anyone that works with children, but also to young readers who may know friends going through something similar. It’s a tearjerker, but a brilliant one that I’m sure will impact many people in a very positive way.
***** 5/5 stars
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