Monday, 31 December 2018

Book Review: Lenny's Book of Everything (Middle Grade/Young Adult)

Lenny's Book of Everything
Karen Foxlee

Publisher: Allen & Unwin 
Publication Date: 1st November 2018
Pages: 352
RRP: $19.99
Format Read: Uncorrected proof copy
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

Lenny, small and sharp, has a younger brother Davey who won't stop growing - and at seven is as tall as a man. Raised by their mother, they have food and a roof over their heads, but not much else.

The bright spot every week is the arrival of the latest issue of the Burrell's Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. Through the encyclopedia, Lenny and Davey experience the wonders of the world - beetles, birds, quasars, quartz - and dream about a life of freedom and adventure. But as Davey's health deteriorates, Lenny realises that some wonders can't be named.

A big-hearted novel about loving and letting go by an award-winning author.

'A gorgeous, heartbreaking, and heartwarming book.' - R. J. PALACIO

'Such a big heart and not a beat out of place.' - MELINA MARCHETTA

'Tough, tender and beautiful.' - GLENDA MILLARD

'Unforgettable.' - ANNA FIENBERG

'Karen Foxlee, you're a genius.' - WENDY ORR

Heartbreaking and uplifting – this book is everything every reviewer has said....and more.

In Lenny’s Book of EverythingKaren Foxlee wanted to convey love in all its forms, sibling love, motherly love, neighbourly love and what it means to love someone who is different and the emotions that go with it. What I find she has also conveyed was the feelings of shame and self loathing when sometimes that love slips and you are left feeling embarrassed, even annoyed by this person you are meant to love.

Foxlee’s writing is reminiscent of Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep (one of my all time favourite reads) only it’s not as complicated making it excellent for younger readers.
‘She was thin with worry our mother. She was made almost entirely out of worries and magic.’  - Lenore Spink

The story is narrated by Lenny as she worries about her mother, her brother and her absent father. She tells the story of her brother’s ‘growing’ as it is at first brushed off as tall family genes, then visits to the specialist, stays in hospital and how a community comes together to give help.

Foxlee has created a likeable and realistic cast of characters. Cynthia Spink with all her worries, Mrs Gaspar, the Hungarian neighbour, and her strange dreams, Lenore and her beetle mania and Davey, it was easy to see why everyone loved him.

In Lenny’s Book of Everything Foxlee captures life in the early 70’s where man has recently landed on the moon and knowledge comes from encyclopedias (not the internet) via weekly instalments arriving through the mail. Lenny’s family won their set of encyclopaedia which would have been akin to winning the lottery. A set of encyclopedia on your bookshelf in the 70’s was like a status symbol and I remember eagerly purchasing the new issue from the newsagent each week and like Lenny and Davey poring over the facts and pictures in each book.

Lenny comes across as a bit of a tomboy, a deep thinker and a deep feeler. She bristled, she felt ashamed, she took on a lot of her mother’s stoicism but mostly she loved.

Lenny’s Book of Everything is a heartbreaking and wonderful read full of the kindness of people everywhere. 

Age : 10 - 14 years and older.

My Rating  5/5                🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 


  Lenny's Book of Everything is book #34 in the Australian Women Writers challenge

and part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge

Photo courtesy of author website
Karen Foxlee is an Australian author who writes for both kids and grown-ups. Her first novel The Anatomy of Wings won numerous awards including the Dobbie Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen's first novel for children, was published internationally to much acclaim while her second novel for younger readers, A Most Magical Girl, won the Readings Children's Fiction Prize in 2017 and was CBCA shortlisted the same year.

Karen lives in South East Queensland with her daughter and several animals, including two wicked parrots, who frequently eat parts of her laptop when she isn't looking. Her passions are her daughter, writing, day-dreaming, baking, running and swimming in the sea.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
 Website  ||  Facebook  ||  Twitter  ||   


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