Season of Secrets by Sally Nicholls

Published by Scholastic
ISBN: 9781407132785 

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 12.16.53Any book with a quote from Jacqueline Wilson on the cover will undoubtedly peak my interest so Sally Nicholls’ Season of Secrets really got me intrigued. The story revolves around Molly, a little girl who lives with her Nanna and Grandad, along with her older sister Hannah.

Molly’s life with her grandmother and grandfather running the local shop is very different from the life she once had with her mother and father. Sadly though, Molly’s mother has passed away and her father is wracked with grief. Because of this, Molly and Hannah are living in a sleepy village and going to a small school where things run in accordance with the very quiet surroundings.

Then, one evening, something magical happens. Hannah persuades Molly to run away from their grandparents. While Hannah returns after they are separated, Molly gets lost and witnesses a brutal attack; a horned man riding a horse organises a pack of dogs to go after an innocent man who is left blood-soaked and in pain on the ground.

Throughout the book we see Molly’s attempts to nurse the man back to good health. Pretty soon, Molly learns of the man’s identity. He is the mythical Green Man, whose visage is used on the gravestones and in carvings around the local church. Molly must also convince those close to her that the Green Man exists, despite only her teacher Miss Shelley, believing her.

Molly’s struggles are fantastical but also familial. Her sister Hannah is a nasty brat, who strives to cause misery, which makes her father’s efforts to come to terms with his loss and take back his children very difficult. And Molly’s stuck right in the middle.

My favourite chapters were the short bursts of admiration that Molly expresses. The two or three page chapters about Molly’s school-friend Emily and Molly’s neighbour Jack are beautifully crafted love letters that brought a tear to my eye.

This book is a mythological adventure entwined within a wonderful tale of family, love, and overwhelming grief. I would recommend this book to any Jacqueline Wilson fan, not just because of the cover quote, but because of the purity of the writing, the family on the verge of a crisis and a fair few Tracy Beaker references.

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