A moving #LoveOzYA novel about loss, first love and being there for your family, no matter what.
Sixteen-year-old Jamie lives with his mum and his younger brother Oscar, who has Down syndrome. Though Jamie is still grieving the loss of his dad, life starts to look up when he meets Zara, the new girl at school. When their mum goes away for the weekend, Jamie volunteers to look after Oscar. But when the weekend is over and their mother doesn’t return, Jamie faces the toughest challenge of his life.
Robyn Bavati lives in Melbourne. She is the award-winning author of Dancing in the Dark, Pirouette and Within These Walls. A mother to three grown-up children, she is an active member of Toastmasters International, enjoys public speaking, and loves visiting schools.
Living with a disability is not easy. Living with someone with a disability is also, often, not easy – and especially, I would say for a young adult. This is a novel that explores this aspect of disability with real sensitivity, humor and resilience. I loved reading this so much that I consumed it in one binge read one night last week (yes last week of term when I was dead tired – pretty good indication how great it is really!!). Will be talking this up big time with my ChocLit readers and certainly promoting it widely in the library after the holidays. Highly recommended for your readers from around Year 7 upwards – it’s just a pure delight.
Just So Stories
This is a deeply moving portrayal of what it is like to have a sibling with a disability, from the impact of finding out, to the complexities of daily life to the stares and reactions of others. This isn’t a perspective that’s shown very often, and it’s presented in an honest, realistic way. It doesn’t shy away from the difficult emotions of feeling ashamed or wanting to shout, ‘why can’t you be normal’, but it also shows Jamie’s growing understanding that Oscar can do more than he has given him credit for, as he finds himself constantly surprised by Oscar’s insights and abilities.
CBCA: Reading Time
This would make an ideal class novel or literature circle book as it raises issues of accountability and dealing with grief. Readers too, will grow in empathy and understanding of children living with a sibling with a disability.
It’s about a specific experience – that of siblings trying to navigate life for themselves but also their family and disabled sibling. At the heart of the novel though, is a story about grief and healing, and the challenges we face in life that are beyond schedules, school, doctors. Those moments and events that impact us all, whoever we are. Family, loss and love are universal – things that we all encounter.
The Book Muse