'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 19 July 2021

Review: A Weekend with Oscar

Looking after a younger brother with additional needs for a weekend doesn't sound like an easy gig for a sixteen year old kid. 

Nor is it.

Jamie is a smart kid, in the accelerated class at school, who tries to live as straightforward a life as possible while grieving the loss of his dad and coping with the demands of Oscar, his gorgeous brother with Downs Syndrome.

When his mother needs to make a sudden interstate trip to support her own sister’s crisis, Jamie steps up and offers to look after Oscar for a few days.

The weekend passes with a few hiccups along the way, but Jamie rises to the challenges and manages to get Oscar to his various appointments and activities despite relying on the bus. 

He looks forward to life returning to normal.

But his mother never returns. 

At first, he assumes that a wild storm in Perth which has grounded all flights is the reason. 

But as the storm passes and he hears nothing from either his mother or aunt about a revised ETA, his disquiet steadily grows.

And he can’t call on help from the authorities, as this would risk Oscar being removed from the family home, something that Jamie promised his parents would never happen.

He needs to dig deep to solve this mystery with no adult help.

I liked that Bavati portrayed the affection between the brothers, and that Oscar was depicted as being more than just his disability. 

Bavarti gave Oscar the agency to come up with a strategy that Jamie hadn’t thought about. I also liked how she showed the reader the isolation that families with children with additional needs face daily as their social options quietly dry up. 

However, the school bully was never given a motivation to be so rude about Oscar to Jamie’s face and I felt this was a left as a loose end. Plus, having worked for social welfare agencies myself, I wanted to yell at Jamie that his fears would be unlikely to be realised as siblings are only separated as a last resort.

Otherwise, it was well written and left me guessing. Jamie and Oscar were both relateable, and Jamie's budding relationship with Zoe was also done well. 

This is author Robyn Bavati’s fourth book for young adults, and I’m sure it’s not going to be her last.

Title: A Weekend with Oscar
Author: Robyn Bavarti
Publisher: Walker, $19.99
Publication Date: 7 July, 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760653002
For ages: 12 years +
Type: Young Adult Fiction