Abie Longstaff, writer of books including The Fairytale Hairdresser and Aladdin, selects her Best Book of 2017…
Jenny McLachlan’s Stargazing for Beginners
Meg – a fifteen year old, science-mad girl – is left in charge of her baby sister when their erratic mother disappears. She’s determined to cope without alerting interfering adults but she’s got a science competition to enter, a baby to get to nursery; and somehow she’s got to juggle finances so they can both eat. I’ve always loved books about everyday survival (one of my favourites is Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming) and I liked seeing Meg blossom and discover her own strength. There are some great side characters too, one of whom (Annie, a girl with cerebral palsy) is getting her own spin off book (yay) ‘Truly, Wildly, Deeply’ in March 2018.
This is a book about young carers, about following your dreams and about finding your tribe. But, alongside the depth, there’s charm and an effortless humour running through the text. Jenny’s dialogue is great and her characters are likeable and relatable.
A real treat of a book.