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Monday, 23 September 2019

Review: How To Make Friends With The Dark

The morning sun promises the start of a great day; well if you discount the pile of unpaid bills, the lack of coffee or the fact no water was coming out of the tap – well then yes it was going to be a promising day. 

However bad things seem, Tiger Tolliver and her Mum, June always work as a team – together they are unstoppable.

At school there are pros and cons. Her best friend Cake is always there for her, then there is nerd but prospective boyfriend Kai Henderson, on the flipside is Lupe Hidalgo and her besties who love nothing better than to make Tiger’s life suck. All Tiger wants is to go to the school dance and be normal – just like everyone else.

Thinking she is helping; her Mum buys her a weird looking dress. June Tolliver wants her daughter to be the belle of the ball. Tiger hates the dress and the two argue for all the wrong reasons. In a huff, Tiger stays out late with her friends and ignores her Mum’s calls.

Then three little words change Tiger’s world forever – Your Mum died and naturally she blames herself. Her world turns inside out and upside down – nothing will ever be the same. The Tolliver girls can be separated after all.

Emergency foster care follows with a series of weird wanna be parents, Tiger continually hopes that it is all a bad dream. As a way of keeping track, Tiger keeps count of how many days, hours and minutes since her Mum died. The weird dress her Mum bought now becomes the one thing Tiger links with her Mum, so she refuses to take it off.

Drowning in darkness, suicidal thoughts plague Tiger (real name Grace). Tiger stops eating, barely showers and starts to self-harm – anything to stop the pain. Tiger sort of makes friends with similar kids in the temporary foster care home, but is sent to another more permanent home.

Rebelling and trying to deal with her devastating loss, Tiger acts out in a series of misadventures and ends up in juvenile detention. Hitting rock bottom after discovering her Mum had been keeping secrets about her Dad – Tiger has nowhere else to turn. Its her time in detention that makes her eat a real meal in months, attend a grief group at school and make friends with the one person who she thought hated her the most, Lupe Hidalgo.

At 53 days, 12 hours the world takes on a slight glimmer of hope and Grace might just make it out of the darkness.

Kathleen Glasgow creates a story that oozes raw loss and grief. The pain Grace feels throughout the book is felt by the reader, its inescapable sadness will resonate with anyone who has experienced such deep loss. But the author shows the reader there is always hope, someone who will listen and time can help to heal even the deepest wounds. One word of advice when reading this story, arm yourself with tissues.

Title: How To Make Friends With The Dark
Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Publisher: HarperCollins, $19.99
Publication Date: 15 April 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781460751060
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction

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