I’m a huge fan of verse novels. They really make my heart sing. If you haven’t read one before, then Gloves Off by Louisa Reid really is the perfect place to start. Reid’s narrative ably demonstrates how powerful a carefully crafted verse novel can truly be, as she takes us on Lily’s journey.
Lily is sixteen. She’s bullied at school. Really bullied. Both Mum and Dad are warm and caring. But there are problems at home too. Mum hasn’t been out the house for a long time, it’s something that’s gone on for so long that Lily hasn’t questioned it until now, when their relationship really comes into focus. Occasionally the chapters shift point of view from Lily to Mum, a really powerful way of helping us feel Mum’s emotions too.
But, the bulling at school continues…
my dad thinks i’m clumsy.
i don’t let him see all the bruises – sometimes, though, he’ll look at me twice and ask questions that make me wince and hide.
Dad – in a caring yet firm manner – directs Lily towards boxing. They begin in the garden, building up strength and fitness before he introduces her to a Boxing Club. A Boxing Club for girls.
There are, of course, obstacles along the way but we see Lily learning to love herself, having the confidence to find her tribe and her place in the world.
I can’t recommend this one highly enough, and if Gloves Off becomes your first introduction to verse novels, you are in for a real treat! You are about to start on a brilliant reading journey…