Published by Orion on June 5th 2014
Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world's most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope. The second sensational novel from Irish author, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, following her debut, BACK TO BLACKBRICK, perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher and Siobhan Dowd.
Told from the alternating perspective of both Oscar and Meg, the pair reminisce about the six months after Meg’s parents dragged her off to New Zealand. It’s curious how much of a connection you can feel between the two characters even though the reader doesn’t see the pair together in the present-time and can only read each individual’s memories of the other. Reading the thoughts and feelings of both Oscar and Meg gives the reader an immediate connection to both of them. They’re the sort of people that you wish you knew and were friends with in real life. Both of them seem like real people and the author seems to have captured the thoughts of both the teenage boy and girl perfectly in her characters. I don’t think the ages of either characters is explicitly mentioned which means that the characters could be teenagers of any age really but that makes this story even better – it is both ageless and timeless.
This story and the writing is so simple and yet so beautiful. There are a few twists and turns in the story but for the most part I just meandered my way through this story. Whilst this film was a lovely read, it does also highlight the social pressure that teenagers are under at high school and how it can all go very wrong, very quickly. This story isn’t really what you’d call ‘predictable’, but it’s not particularly hard to guess what the outcome will be either. However, this story isn’t about the ending, it’s about the journey. You learn the true meaning of friendship and how you should never give up hope because, as the book cover says, “there’s always a crumb left”.
I wish I could find out more about Oscar, Meg and their world, but one of the best things about this book is that it is so short and sweet. Nothing about this book is superfluous; each and every word is on point and hits you right in the middle of the chest. If you’re a fan of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park then I think you’d enjoy this tale as well. This book is an unexpected gem and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone, old or young, for it is a thoroughly heart-warming tale with a few life lessons thrown in too.
*Many thanks to Orion Children’s Books for providing me with a review copy. All opinions are my own.
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