I was a huge fan of Elle’s first book, A Kind Of Spark which you can buy here. There’s no surprise that it has recently won the Blue Peter Book Award and it is a book I can highly recommend you not only read, but have in your school for as many children as possible to access.
Now, Elle has released her second book, ‘Show Us Who You Are’ featuring a new cast of characters for us to meet. Cora meets Adrien and, although she isn’t looking for a new best friend, they just get each other and there is no need or want from him to explain her differences.
As well as a new found friendship with Adrien, she also begins to find fascination in the Pomegranate Institute where her brother works, and Adrien’s father owns. There, they create holograms that bring back the dead, by allowing their friends and family to talk to the computerised version of them. After losing her mother, Cora finds comfort in the idea that you might be able to have your family with you forever.
But, after becoming more involved with the Institute, Cora finds layers of secrets which threaten to change the reality she thought she knew. Not only does she need to stay true to herself, she needs to ensure others do, too.
Whilst packed with drama, excitement and action which will take you on a real ride, there are also deeper themes which tun throughout the story and show you a range of emotions. There are moments when you’re reading when you want to laugh; there are others, where you want to cry.
Cora is neurodivergent, a representation which is so important in books. Children want – and need – to see themselves reflected in books and this is one of the many reasons why Elle’s books are so brilliant. She allows the reader to understand a little more what life might be like for Cora and therefore develop further empathy within their own lives, or to actually see a character similar to themselves within the pages.
I loved the development of the story – the sci-fi concept of the Pomegranate Institute really challenged your thinking: could something like this exist in the future? Would we even want it to? The reader is really made to ponder on some deep themes, which have been presented to them in an age-accessible way.
Another part of the book that I really enjoyed reading, was the friendship between Adrien and Cora. It was such an honest look at friendship; they really complemented each other with Adrien having a more whimsical look at life, whereas Cora found herself thinking more seriously. They soon helped each other to see beyond their own view and their interactions had me laughing out loud.
Another gloriously written book by Elle which you need to get your hands on.
If you like the sound of this book, you can buy it here.
📚 Book gifted by publisher.