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- author Jackie French

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Review: A Small Free Kiss in the Dark

Skip takes to the streets when the people who are supposed to care for him don't.

As he scavenges for food, he keeps meeting Old Billy, who is fighting his own demons.

Billy doesn't want to get attached but he is lured in by the magic of Skip's artistic ability. When Skip and Billy finally join forces, the world seems to steady.

Then the war turns everything upside down. And others need support as much as Skip and Billy. There, in the midst of terrifying uncertainty, Skip finds home with an unlikely bunch.

When the group escapes the city and holes up in an abandoned theme park, life gets  complicated, especially when the enemy has their headquarters on the hill that overlooks their hideout.

Just when you think life couldn't be more fraught, teenaged Tia and Baby Sixpence wander into their sphere. And the tension ramps up even more.

Being able to track each character's internal conflict right to their potential breaking point keeps me glued to the page. I had to set aside the luxury of sleep when the unimaginable happens.

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark is among my un-put-downable favourites but I suspect you could pick up any of Glenda Millard's creations and feel the same way.

Glenda always writes from the heart and has a knack for shedding light on the darkest of themes. From her picture books (The Duck and the Darklings) and Middle Grade Fiction (The Naming of Tishkin Silk) through to A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, you'll find deep thinking, heartfelt prose at every turn.

However,  A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, with its themes of war, grief, loss, what makes a true family, and the power of one to make a difference, rises above Glenda's other books for me.

It's a classic in every sense of the word.

Title: A Small Free Kiss in the Dark
Author: Glenda Millard
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $16.95
Publication Date: February 2009
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781741756586
For ages: 12 years +
Type: Young Adult Fiction

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