Talking to the Moon – S. E. Durrant

Illustrations: Rob Biddulph

Stars: *****

Iris has been living with her grandmother for a while now. Her parents have the twins, and her room needs to be sorted before she can go back home. In a lot of ways, her grandmother isn’t what people usually expect grandmothers to be like. Her grandchildren and children call her Mimi. She loves to swim in the ocean (even when it’s freezing). She sometimes puts jam on Iris’ scrambled eggs.

When looking at old photos, Iris discovers images of Mimi’s cousin Coral, who died when she was only two. Iris feels intrigued by Coral and yearns to know more about her. With Mason, a boy in her class who lives next door, starts hanging around, Iris finds him a nuisance. But maybe he can help her uncover more about her discovery.

However, it soon becomes clear that Mimi is getting more and more muddled. Her clothes get put on inside out. She talks to the moon. She misplaces things around the house. Iris is worried about telling her parents: they might make her move home.

Can she help Iris and herself at the same time?

This was a beautifully emotional tale. S. E. Durrant has pitched Iris’ character perfectly – she is curious, protective and likeable. She is aware that there is something not quite right with her grandmother, but still wants to help and protect her rather than let on to her family that things are confusing. She wants to preserve her own feelings; even when Mason makes it clear he wants to be her friend, she is reluctant to do so in case she gets hurt. She feels emotion keenly, yet hides this from the world.

I found the background mystery of Coral intriguing – Iris and Mason’s tenacity at uncovering the clues and putting them together was an interesting background plot which allowed the building emotions to be interspersed with distractions – both for us, and Iris! Everything about this book was carefully considered and well put together.

There was a real depth of feeling that carried throughout ‘Talking to the Moon’. There aren’t many books that bring me to tears, but this was one of them.

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