Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Little Celeste- Dawn McNiff
Eleven-year-old Shelley only leaves her bedroom for two minutes, but when she gets back, there's a real, true-life, lavender-eyed baby on her bed. It's far too noisy, smelly and heavy to be a ghost baby - so whose is it? It can't be her mum's - Shelley would have noticed - but it's not like she's around for Shelley to ask, anyway. She's too busy trying to get her horrible ex-boyfriend Scott ('the Toadstool') back, who Shelley definitely does NOT like as much as her mum does.
But someone's got to look after the baby, and give her a name. 'Celeste' sounds good (in fact, it sounds kind of magical) and so Shelley and little Celeste embark on some rather messy adventures, gain some new friends and realise that maybe some wishes can come true after all...
I have been spoilt lately by a plethora of fantastic reads for children and young adults. It is my favourite genre, so I've loved getting to know some new characters and discover authors I haven't read before.
Little Celeste sounded like the kind of book I would enjoy- unusual and slightly fantastical without veering into out and out science fiction. Infact, although it is a read which has a magical feel, it is very much about family and belonging. The mystery of Celeste and where she came from had me guessing for quite a while, although I wasn't surprised by the revelation when it came.
This book has a fairytale feel and offers a fresh and unique take on how it feels to be a child in a family-the lack of choice, the longing for independence juxtaposed with the need to be loved and cared for. Shelley is instantly likeable, although she is vulnerable she is also extremely ballsy. I am sure readers, particularly girls, will be able to relate to her.
I loved the imagery in McNiff's writing, my favourite line being 'wow, so many stars...it looks like a huge firework went off and froze in the sky'. Wonderfully evocative. I'll be interested to see how she follows Little Celeste-if it is with something else as sweet and engaging I will definitely be seeking it out.
Little Celeste is out now, published by Hot Key Books.
With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.