Splash by Charli Howard is an uplifting story about family, friendship and following your dreams told with sensitivity and warmth. A perfect read for those moving from primary to secondary school.
Molly, who lives with her grandparents following the departure of her mother when she was a baby, is in her final year of primary school and dreams of becoming a champion swimmer. But when her best friend, Chloe, tries to make her quit her regular swimming practices, describing them as too babyish, Molly is torn between trying to fit in with her friends or to follow her dreams. Once offered the chance to compete in a regional swimming contest Molly decides to train in secret and strikes up a friendship with fellow swimmer, Ed. However the strain of trying to maintain her friendships and cope with the surprise reappearance of her mother start to make life difficult for Molly and for her family. Can she conquer the problems and achieve her dreams?
This is an extremely readable novel and in the character of Molly the author has created a character with whom many young girls will empathise. That final year at primary school with its promise of change and new horizons beckoning can be tricky for many and it is at this age that friendship issues can rear their ugly head too. Charli Howard tackles all of these issues and more with a sensitivity and warmth which will reassure children at this stage of their lives. Molly is taunted about her size by her ‘friend’, Chloe and sadly body image is increasingly something that affects young girls. The author, a former model, has first hand experience of this and therefore deals with the subject with understanding and in a manner appropriate for this age group.
I loved Molly and her voice carries the story beautifully and her relationship with her grandparents feels both loving and realistic. As the story progresses and Molly and her friends cope with the fallout of their parents’ problems in addition to their own squabbles and misunderstandings they develop and mature. This would be a perfect read for children in Year 6 as they prepare for the transition to secondary school. The story incorporates many of the possible fears and problems they may be dealing with and allows the reader to see how these can be overcome. Molly’s achievements and the way in which friendships are restored make this book an uplifting read. A story that will soothe, entertain and encourage young readers, particularly girls.
Thank you to Clare Hall–Craggs and Nosy Crow books for providing my review copy.