REVIEW TIME: by Ellen Read
Young love, an Irish legend, a hidden lighthouse and Peter Pan – I was hooked before I started reading.
This is also a story of mental illness, an otherworldly encounter, loss and grief. Holly Ducarte handles these difficult themes with great sensitivity.
‘We’re all like paper dolls. Happiest when linked to another, often unaware of our flimsiness. So easily torn. What happens when we reach out to find there’s no one there to hold our hand?’
These are the opening lines of the story.
Becky is torn and is reaching out for a hand to hold. She finds it in Shawn, the boy-next-door, who believes magic does exist.
In the beginning, I had mixed feelings about Rebecca because she is rebellious and so difficult to get along with, but I sensed her vulnerability. She is a teenager, she’s lost her mother, doesn’t know her father well, and is then whisked away to a new house in a new coastal town in Nova Scotia. I soon felt empathy for her. This is really a testament to Ducarte’s writing that she portrayed Becky so well.
Becky’s relationship with her father, Andy, is an important thread in the story and I was pleased with how it developed. In the beginning, I wasn’t certain if I’d like Andy but my respect and liking for him grew.
I loved the references to Peter Pan and, in the magical dreamlike scenes, I felt myself fly away with them on their adventure. Shawn becomes Becky’s Peter Pan. This gives her a lifeline but forces beyond her control send Rebecca spiralling into dark places. When she emerges, she wonders what was real.
This book moved me so deeply.
I highly recommended this YA read. It’s excellent, something very different.
Well done, Holly Ducarte, on your debut novel.