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Dominic, Our Lady's Abingdon (OLA)

The Stars at Oktober Bend

At the start of the novel, I was frustrated immensely by the non-existent capital letters, during Alice's point of view. However, as I read on, I warmed to the character of Alice, and realised that by not using capital letters, the author had made her out-of-the-ordinary, as nearly all other books use capital letters. Not using capital letters made Alice unique - character I will remember. I enjoyed this book; it truly was a tangle of emotions: heart-rending and upsetting, funny and sweet.

alice is a girl who had a terrible head injury when she was twelve. now she is fifteen, but her mind is stuck as a twelve-year-old. she is a fantastic poet
who writes
heart-breaking poems and
leaves them on scraps of paper
all over
for people
to find
and
answer.

people never do though. or if they do, their messages are cruel and sarcastic. alice's family is in tatters. she has one brother, joey, and her gram.

'daddy's dead
mother's missing
sister's crazy
grandma's sick
grandpa's jailed.'

her family only survives because of the fly tying that alice does. but the person she sells them to is dishonest and then sells them on for ten times the price. her gram's ill and neither joey or her are eighteen yet. alice is so powerful and no matter what alice will fight through. then she meets manny.

Manny is from Sierra Leone, a boy in the war. He has managed to escape to Australia, away from the fighting. He sees Alice on the roof of her house one night, and is desperate to catch a glimpse of her again. One day, before his football training, he meets her. The first thing he asks is to hear her voice. Manny is so 'troubled', as it says in the book - you can see it in his eyes, a sad and confused person. Together though, they can be anything.

This is a sad but happy story of love, intertwined with jealousy and grief and what humans will do for grief. I found, nearer to the end, the writing really flowed and was one, beautiful and lyrical tale, which I couldn't put down. I would recommend the book to people 13+, as there are a couple of references to themes which would not be suitable for younger children. Overall, it was a very well written book, that I would rate 4.3/5 stars.

Posted on: 3rd April 2017 at 07:03 pm

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