Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Usborne Publishing
1409538591 (ISBN13: 9781409538592)
Some secrets last a lifetime. When Becky and her mum move to the tiny village of Oakbridge, Mum is hoping for a new beginning. But when Becky discovers an old photo of her mum in hospital clutching a baby, twelve years before Becky was born, Becky becomes haunted by the thought that her mum is keeping something from her. Stifled by her mum's over-protectiveness and depressive moods, Becky feels more alone than ever. The only place she finds comfort is at the beautiful local Butterfly Garden with her new friend, the wild-spirited and impulsive Rosa May. But Becky can't shake off the unanswered questions. Why can't she swim? Where is her dad? Who is the baby in the photo? And why is her mum lying to her? As the two girls spend more time together however, Rosa May's unpredictable temper and possessive streak suggests that she is hiding something as well...and in the heat of the sun-drenched summer, it seems that Becky is the only one in the dark
You couldn't help but appreciate the very fact that this was a beautiful story full of contrasting and challenging emotions that just seemed to grasp you from the word go. The story line for me was not something that I ever remember reading before but the whole concept in which it was written was just done so well, in a manner that you could almost imagine it actually being that way. Becky is a confused normal 12 year old teenage girl, a girl who has been forced to change her life because of a job that her mother has gotten. From the word go you find yourself connecting to and relating to becky and what it is that she is going through merely because of how real the character actually feels. The author has clearly put a lot of personality into the character and it automatically makes you wonder, is this perhaps a part of her childhood being displayed to us in words. The metaphors in the novel are so wonderful that you can just see the imagery coming to life, really reflecting in your mind and making the book feel more real. Becky is a wonderful and addictive character who appears as not just as a 12 year old but a child of many ages. She clearly has to go through a lot that most kids wouldnt have to face and this is perhaps why sometimes in the book she appears as a much more mature 12 year old. But in other parts of the book she comes across as a little girl who wants to have a giggle and have fun, and that makes you smile.
For me the plot was wonderful because I think it reaches out to a number of a children that are perhaps in some sort of similar situation. I was lucky to know who my father was and to have him there for a majority of my life so far. But for my brother, my youngest brother, he will never know his dad and it will be not to long I suppose, till he starts asking the questions. I think in many ways therefore, the book actually touches on the topic by showing that this is something that others have to go through as well and that the child is not alone in the situation. But it also shows that sometimes things happen for difficult reasons and reasons that are out of our control. The mother shows the normal traits of someone who is still mourning not just a death but a lost and broken heart that can not entirely be fixed. The mothers emotions came across as well as Beckys and you begin to understand what it is that she is going through and this will help other children out because they might begin to understand the emotions that there seperated parents are going through and may not question it with such hate or dislike about the very fact. However, In the novel it is Rose-may that is the big fascination because she comes across as such a real and reliable character, only then to find out shes not?
I am grateful that I have never lost a sibling in my life and that I have had the pleasure of watching them all grow up and become the people that they are, but also that I have helped them to be that way. I remember being sad when I learnt how I almost lost the oldest of my two brothers and I could therefore somewhat emotionally connect to the whole story line of rose may. To discover you had a sister but not know anything about her, that is a shock and a half of the centurary. I think at this point we can understand and connect to the feeling of betrayal that Becky is going through, after all this is not something that you expect a parent to hide, especially when your only 12 and you just dont understand it yourself. The whole book though has this power of making you feel each and every characters definitions of emotions on the sitatuation which for me automatically made it a very clever book ebcause its clearly something that meant to grasp your moind and keep you within its pages even when you have finished reading it. Rose may though and the becky situation is a very complex one especially when she clearly had no idea who she was and what she was. But the aspect of her being a ghost just didn't seem to come up as a flaw, even though it seems a little outstandish in the book and not quite fitting to the rest of the scenario.
In some ways I was annoyed that we did not get to meet or really connect with the characters of mack and stella, but then at the same time I wondered if that we had, would it have become another cliche storyline of love and wanting. Although we dont get to see them alot we do get to see that they are clearly very important people in the life of becky and that they are the snippets of hints to the mystery, the little give aways that something happened, something that has been hidden for a long time and for a good reason as it seems. Im finding it difficult though to find a flaw to the book. In someways I would say it moved far to quickly and that the story felt like it was over when it had only just begun, but in other contexts I wonder if had more been put into it, would it be as engaging as it is now? It just leaves you with this huge amount of questions pondering on your lips. But in all respects this is the sort of book that I would recommend to others and it is something that I would read over and over again. I just get the feeling that its the type of book that is going to mean soemthing different to every person that comes across it and that it perhaps will mean different things each and every time you read it. And this is the reason as to why I am awarding this novel four stars.