I was keen to read ONLY WE KNOW by Simon Packham because a) he used to blog for Girls Heart Books and I never got around to reading anything of his (and I really do try to read stuff by bloggers who help me run the site!) and b) it’s published by Piccadilly Press, who are publishing my book A LIBRARY OF LEMONS next May.
I like the cover, first off. Not entirely sure about the background colour (which is brighter in real life than on-screen), but the caterpillar/butterfly images are very apt, and it’s nice and simple and in-keeping with current cover trends. The central character is Lauren. She and her family have just moved house, and it seems that Lauren was the reason for the move, but we don’t know why. Her younger sister Tilda won’t talk to her, and again we don’t know why. Her parents are over-protective and say things like, ‘We don’t want THAT happening again’ – but we don’t know why.
There’s a lot we don’t know, and it’s to Simon’s credit that I kept reading because it takes a VERY long time to get any answers (do not fear! This is a book where everything is explained, thank goodness!) which means that you spend about 90% of the book trying to guess what’s happened before. And boy, did I guess wrong. Persistently. Which is also to Simon’s credit. Looking back, there were just about enough clues, but I think I might have questioned one or two reactions as unrealistic. I can’t say which, because I can’t spoiler the book! But by the time you find out Lauren’s secret, a number of things have happened – some good, some bad – and you really DO want her to succeed and have nice relationships and find love and all that.
The tricky thing about reviewing this book is that I can’t actually mention The Secret. Which is a bit of a pain, really, because The Secret puts this book into a certain really important category of books. If any school librarians would like to know just WHY I think they should have this book in their school library, please leave your email address below and I shall explain in a private message!
But trust me, it’s good to see a book like this, and we do need more of them. Kudos to Simon for writing a wholly enjoyable story with a great concept.