The Secrets of Sam and Sam by Susie Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m going to start this review by talking about another book. Stay with me, there’s a reason for this.
I nominated Pea’s Book of Big Dreams by Day as my pick for the Carnegie last year. The Carnegie, for those of you who don’t know it, is a big and wonderful award for children’s literature in the United Kingdom. One of the big bonuses about being a member of CILIP is that I get to pick a book. Pea’s Book of Big Dreams was my pick for last year. I chose it because, really, it’s perfect.
And I rather suspect that The Secrets of Sam and Sam might be right up there for my pick for this year.
Day is so good. Seriously. Her books are just a constant joy of humour, of emotion, of life and of living and of siblings. She’s one of my epochal authors; a writer who can give you heart and soul and Cover Important Things and biscuits and just wrap it all up in a perfect little package of just proper good bookishness. I want to cry, really, because I’ve literally just finished this book (one, which I dropped everything to read) and I want to start it all over again.
I love her books. I love The Secrets of Sam and Sam so much.
I love it because it is a coming of age story in a family that is full of adults that are not perfect, children who are trying to figure out who they are, and drooly occasionally-green dogs. Sam and Sam have previously appeared in the very wonderful Pea Books and this is their solo adventure. The Sams have two mums, one occasionally-green dog, biscuits and secrets. Lots of secrets. Growing up is hard. Sam is struggling to come to terms with hummus and heights, whilst his sister Sammie is navigating the whole deep water that is best friends in year six. Everything around them is changing and it’s time for some secrets to be told, others to be kept and basically I love this book, I love what Day does, I love that she gets that moment when you suddenly realise that you’ve become somebody but now (thank you hormones and teenager-ness) you have to be somebody else and you’re not really sure who that somebody else does. I love that her books tell you so wholeheartedly that it’s okay to be different, that it’s okay to be who you are and that yes, that journey is complicated, but you’ll get there eventually and it’ll be okay.
I’m babbling. I love this book. I was excited about it the moment I heard about it, and now I’m just rapturously in love with it. Just, I say, just. I don’t think anything could quite coherently express my admiration for the work of Day at this point.
(TL:DR? Book good. Read book).