Book Review: Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, by Siobhan Curham

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_don't_stop_thinking_about_tomorrowStevie and Hafiz are two fourteen-year-olds from very different backgrounds. Stevie is a talented guitarist who is passionate about music – but she has a difficult home life, living with the challenges of her mother’s unemployment and crippling depression after the recent death of Stevie’s father. Hafiz is a gifted footballer, new to England after a gruelling journey on his own from his war-torn home in Syria, desperately missing his parents. The one thing Steve and Hafiz have in common is that both of them are struggling to fit in at school – until they find each other.

This is a fabulous book about diversity, mental health, the plight of refugees, and overcoming prejudice. But mostly it is a story about friendship. The book unfolds in chapters alternating between Stevie and Hafiz’s perspectives. Slowly we learn more about their backstories and the events that have led them to the moment where a well-meaning teacher instructs the new boy to sit next to the lonely girl. This is a very contemporary tale, with its empathetic and tactful discussion of mental health issues and the refugee experience. Stevie and Hafiz’s voices are unique and genuine and the author carefully avoids slipping into a schmaltzy treatment of some very tough topics.

My daughter and I were both big fans of Curham’s earlier books, The Moonlight Dreamers and its sequel Tell It To The Moon, so I was very keen to read this new novel. To my surprise, I think I like this new book even better than the other two; no mean feat. Both of the characters are endearing and extremely likeable. And how can you not love a book that includes a Spotify playlist? This is a thought-provoking and extremely enjoyable read for anyone twelve and over.

Reviewed by Tiffany Matsis

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
by Siobhan Curham
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781406387803

Book Review: Tell it to the Moon, by Siobhan Curham

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_tell_it_to_the_moonAs much as my English teachers would cringe to hear the word ‘lovely’ used to describe a book, that really was the first word which sprang to mind when I finished reading this story of life, friendship and relationships.

This story is about four girls heading to their late teens who have forged a strong bond through their private club (I know, it sounds a bit twee but go with it) the Moonlight Dreamers. What makes this group of ordinary girls work so well is the very fact that they are both ordinary and unique at the same time – as are we all.

There is Oscar Wilde-worshipping Amber who is suffering a writer’s block and wears vintage men’s clothes (I think she was my favourite), Rose who as the child of a famous actor and former super model dreams of being a baker with her own cake shop, Maali who is an Indian girl whose worry about her ill father causes her to question her faith in her gods and Sky the poet, who after being home schooled all her life finds herself at school for the first time. An eclectic and charming bunch of girls, much like any you might find in many high schools.  Tell it to the Moon is the second story featuring these characters, with the first (Moonlight Dreamers) relating how the girls met and became such close friends. This book picks up their friendship when they are separated over Christmas holidays, missing each other and looking towards the promise of new challenges and dreams to work towards for the coming new year.

The point of view moves smoothly from one girl to the other and each character is genuine and likeable; you find yourself encouraging them to keep going and not give up as they work through their personal challenges. The diversity of both the protagonists and secondary characters adds interest and gives deeper resonance to the story. They take strength from their friendship and this gives them the courage to be honest with themselves, to share their problems with each other and in turn grow in confidence.

As a coming of age story, it is a gentle and real one; it makes for a refreshing change of pace from the typical intense and gritty YA stories. The issues the girls face and work through are valid, their dreams are big and they are well on the way to understanding their worth.

Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen

Tell it to the Moon
by Siobhan Curham
Published by Walker Books 2017
ISBN: 9781406366150



Book Review: Moonlight Dreamers, by Siobhan Curham

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_moonlight_dreamersAn addictive read for teens that, on the surface, looks fairly light fare, but actually deals with some difficult and very relevant issues. Siobhan Curham most recently came into the spotlight as the author who assisted vlogger Zoe Sugg (Zoella) in writing her bestselling, Girl Online, and there are definite similarities. Both deal with the price of internet infamy, and online bullying.

The Moonlight Dreamers is a story about friendship, it is about being true to yourself, and finding the courage to follow your dreams. It contains a multitude of important messages, from how an act of rebellion can have disastrous consequences, to how if one seeks to fulfill their dreams, it is important to take initiative with the first steps. One of the things I loved about it was that the girls were all so different, and it was more about finding the confidence: to compete in a poetry slam, to talk to the boy she fancied, rather than the outcome.

It is the story of four girls, Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose, all very different but with one similarity: they are all Moonlight Dreamers.

Amber, with her two fathers, struggles to fit in at High School, where several of her peers have turned against her. She seeks solace in the words of Oscar Wilde, whose poem inspires her to start the Moonlight Dreamers: a secret society for girls like her, those that feel the don’t quite fit in and are proud of the fact.

Shy, sweet Maali is one of the kindest and most generous girls you might ever met, she loves to take photographs and only wishes she knew how to talk to boys, one boy in particular.

Sky is a poet, and she loves living with her father on their riverboat, but their peaceful life is about to be turned upside-down, when her father moves them in with his girlfriend. Now, not only does she have to share her good-hearted father, but she has to cope with the resentments of the girlfriend’s daughter, Rose. Beautiful Rose, pushed to be into modelling like her mother, secretly dreams of baking cakes, and staying out of the limelight.

Written in multiple narrative, interspersed with emails and Tumblr posts, with a couple of poems and a recipe thrown in for good measure, The Moonlight Dreamers is a tale that will find resonance for many a modern teenager.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

The Moonlight Dreamers
by Siobhan Curham
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781406365825