Book Reviews

Lost For Words by Aoife Walsh

Lost for Words

Lost for Words by Aoife Walsh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have such a lot of time for what Aoife Walsh does, and so when I was offered a review copy of Lost For Words I leapt at the chance. Every now and then I still think about the messy, wonderful, loving and truthful families she writes (take a look at Too Close To Home for a lovely example of this) and so I couldn’t wait to read her new title. So I did, and reader? It’s lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Dallas Kelly lives in chaotic circumstances; her family are dealing with a close bereavement, a complicated living situation, there are mean girls at school, and now the local library is closing. I was talking with somebody the other week about the tendency for girls in children’s books to adore reading and the rare delight it was to find a character who wasn’t necessarily cut from the same cloth. Dallas decides to save the library for everyone who uses it – and that’s such a delightful, potent, perfect thing. Yes she reads, and loves it, but she’s not “books, books, rah, rah, rah.” She’s doing this for the people she loves and lives with.

But then again, people is what Walsh is all about. Ruby and Aiza, Dallas’ best friends, are adorable and Aiza might secretly be one of the best characters I have read for years. Dallas’ family are messy, lovable and real. They make mistakes. They grow. They live. They learn. I suspect I’m channelling one of the 90s pop songs I seem to have on repeat on Youtube at the moment, but you get the point. These are people and this is a moment in their lives. Honest. Truthful. Lived. Loved.

This is classic children’s literature, fat with heart and rich with emotion, and I love it.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

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