I have seen so much love around for Sarah Crossan but had never quite managed to pick up one of her books until the lovely people at Bloomsbury
sent me a copy of her newest novel, Toffee
. This book was absolutely gorgeous, and now I’m super keen to read more of her back list! Here’s a bit about Toffee
(from the Bloomsbury website
I am not who I say I am.
Marla isn’t who she thinks she is.
I am a girl trying to forget.
Marla is a woman trying to remember.
Allison has run away from home and with nowhere to live finds herself hiding out in the shed of what she thinks is an abandoned house. But the house isn’t empty. An elderly woman named Marla, with dementia, lives there – and she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past called Toffee.
Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be. And so, Toffee is who she becomes. After all, it means she has a place to stay. There are worse places she could be.
But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real friend, she begins to ask herself –where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?
I haven’t read many novels in verse so I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel about it, but to be honest it was just the most perfect format for this story. There’s something almost kind of mystical about Allison, and the sparsity and careful selection of each word on the page in this book was just magical. I felt like the narrative flowed beautifully smoothly, and the emotions of the story really came across strongly.
I loved getting to know Allison and Marla as bits and pieces of their lives were revealed to us, and I thought the way their relationship developed was really sweet. I really how this book looked at the idea of a kind of found family – the way that such lovely companionship can grow between two unlikely friends whose blood families have let them down in one way or another.
In case you can’t tell, I thought this book was a delight. If you haven’t read Sarah Crossan before, or even a novel in verse, I recommend picking this one up as soon as you can for a quick, charming, and poignant read. Readers should be warned that there is discussion of domestic violence in this book.
Out now from Bloomsbury
Source: Free copy provided by Bloomsbury for review
Format: Paperback, 399 pages
Category: Contemporary YA in verse
Themes: Friendship, companionship, found family, domestic violence