In her latest book for Barrington Stoke Karen McCombie captures the voice of a young girl who feels she is invisible to her family and friends but gradually discovers that friendship can be found in the most unlikely places.
Life at home is hard for Hannah at the moment. Her older sister, Vix, is constantly arguing with her parents and Hannah feels that no-one has time for her and her worries. Her parents are concerned for her sister’s future but appear to be uninterested in Hannah’s life. To make matters worse her friends at school don’t appear to understand either. She is beginning to feel invisible. But then she finds an abandoned diary in the park and becomes intrigued by the life of Sami Star whose photos and drawings appear in the journal. Hannah decides to to find the mysterious Sami in the hope that she will be the real friend she needs so badly. But she does not realise that perhaps Sami needs her just as much too.
Karen McCombie writes with kindness and captures extremely well the emotions of a girl in the early days of secondary school who is trying to keep up with her friends and cope with the changes around her. I think that readers will empathise with Hannah and quickly become involved with her story. At just under 60 pages this is a quick read but manages to convey a thoughtful and worthwhile message. Hannah is drawn to the happy personality described in the pages of the lost diary but when she finally meets Sami it becomes clear that she has problems of her own. Theirs is to be a special and inclusive friendship that will, we hope, make things easier for both of them. All the different issues in the story are resolved in a happy ending which will leave young readers with a positive feeling. I particularly liked the way in which Hannah gradually learns to feel comfortable with who she is and her own individuality which is a comforting message for many.
As already mentioned this is a short read and presented in Barrington Stoke’s recognised highly readable style. I feel sure that this will be popular in school libraries with readers of about eight plus.
Thank you to Barrington Stoke for providing my review copy. Karen has written several books for these publishers and you can find details of the other titles on their website. I particularly enjoyed The OMG Blog which I reviewed for the Bookbag.
The eye catching cover of The Lost Diary of Sami Star is designed by Ali Ardington.