Heartwarming tale of friendship and hope after loss for the 9-12 crowd (and teens, and adults...)
The novel is narrated by Cally, who tells us in a statement preceding the first chapter that she hasn't spoken for 31 days. Her narration is pitch-perfect and gives us privileged access to all her thoughts and feelings, even as she's stopped sharing them with anyone else in her life. Poor Cally is mourning the loss of her mother a year ago, and struggling particularly with her father's awkward adult response of never talking about her. She sees a vision of her mother, but no-one believes her, and then the wonderful dog (a silver wolfhound, no less) enters her life. This dog, being huge, is not always welcomed by everyone else, and her teachers and her father particularly don't want it hanging around.
The plot moves along effectively, with all aspects of Cally's life - home, school, family, friends - explored and changed in the course of the novel. I think Sarah Lean captured Cally's grief and its effects on her beautifully, allowing us to share Cally's feelings without being overwhelmed by them. The grief is there, but this is no wallowy book. Instead, it's an optimistic read which offers up hope in the form of friendship, as well as the comforting subtext that adults aren't always automatically right.
Overall, I cannot recommend this highly enough. Just read it, ok? :)
From the Book's Website:My name is Cally Louise Fisher and I haven't spoken for thirty-one days. Talking doesn’t always make things happen, however much you want them to.
Cally Fisher saw her mum bright and real and alive. But no one believes her, so Cally’s stopped talking.
A mysterious wolfhound always seems to be there when her mum appears and now he’s started following her everywhere. But how can Cally convince anyone that Mum is still with them, or persuade Dad that the huge silver-grey dog is their last link with her?