My Life On Fire by Cath Howe

My Life on Fire by Cath Howe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am always interested in what Nosy Crow do and even more so when it involves an author that I have a lot of time for. My Life On Fire by the sensitive and gentle writer Cath Howe is due out at the start of April and deals with a young girl in the middle of a crisis. Ren’s home has burnt down and while her family is finding its way back from this seismic event, she finds herself starting to replace her lost possessions with those of others. I’ve not often seen books dealing with these issues for this age range (Howe writes very accessible, very open literature) and I’m very grateful to My Life On Fire for that.

Howe’s writing is very gentle, very open, and it’s very genuine. Ren’s behaviours start to come to light during a school project and we see both the impact of this upon herself but also her classmates. A few moments here were genuinely very moving and I think Howe handles them well. She lets you see why Ren is doing what she’s doing and that it’s not necessarily something that makes her happy – this is in direct response to the trauma she’s undergoing. (Also a gentle plea, dear publishing, for more illustrations in middle grade fiction – I think they’d do nothing but lovely things here).

There’s a lot to appreciate here. Howe gives you so much in a very light and subtle way and deals with a complicated topic without assigning blame or sides. I was particularly appreciative of how she wrote the ‘discovery’ moment and the slow friendship between Ren and another character is delightful. It’s just a very charming and solid and very genuine read from the first page to the last.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

View all my reviews

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