‘A Library of Lemons’ by Jo Cotterill

250p

2016

Piccadilly Press

Bought

513blykf6clEver since 10 year old Calypso’s mom died years ago, she has always relied on her inner strength to get her through hard times, just like her dad told her to, and she’s become a loner. When Calypso meets Mae at school, she doesn’t quite know what to think of the friendly girl. She’s never had a proper friend, but when she and Mae bond over a love of books, Calypso wonders whether there is something to be said for having friends.

Calypso and Mae’s friendship blossoms, and Calypso enjoys spending time at Mae’s house, where her family are fun and loving, although slightly noisy at times. It makes a change from her home, where for years Calypso’s dad has been writing his “magnum opus”, a book called The History of Lemons. Calypso is proud of her absent-minded father, hoping for him to become a famous author after all his hard work, but after seeing what life is like at Mae’s house, she finds it hard being the responsible one at home, who takes care of everything.

But when she discovers the shocking secret in her dad’s extensive library, Calypso realises that something has been wrong for a very long time, and she can’t fix this on her own. With the help of Mae’s family, Calypso and her dad try to repair their relationship, and her dad’s mental health. But will things ever be better again?

I was drawn in by A Library of Lemons gorgeous cover and intriguing title, and found the story inside to be a lovely, heart-warming read that made me smile. (The fact that it was written by Jo Cotterill also had a draw!)

Calypso’s story was so captivating, and the blossoming friendship between her and Mae was something that I think everyone hopes to find. I also liked all the references to books throughout the story, books being the main thing that Calypso and Mae bonded over.

The relationship between Calypso and her dad was also really interesting to read about. With his mental illness and pent-up grief over her mother’s death, Calypso’s dad was absent-minded, nearly always leaving Calypso to be the person that got things done around the house: the ‘de facto adult’. This was a source of anger for her as he’s the grown-up and meant to be the one to take care of them both.

But towards the end, Calypso realises you don’t always need to rely only on your inner strength to get through tough times, that it’s okay for other people to help you.

This was such a sweet story, with lots of life lessons that rang true. I’d definitely recommend A Library of Lemons to anyone looking for something new to read.

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