Summary: A Goodnight Mister Tom for today – this is the book that will make you laugh and cry …
Grace’s fun loving Mum has found a lump. Her north London world of sleepovers, tap dancing and playing the clarinet fall apart when she is sent to live with her grumpy old granddad on his farm in Yorkshire while her mother goes into hospital to get better.
Grace misses her mother so much it hurts, and doesn’t quite understand what is happening to her. And things go from bad to worse when she starts school and becomes the bullies newest target.
But Grace is no longer alone when she meets the wild Megan and her pig, Claude – when she’s with them she feels as if she can confront anything. At Easter time when Grace misses her mum the most, she knows she must find a way to get to London. With Megan’s help, she hatches a plan to run away that involves Claude, chocolate Easter eggs and a risky ID swap. But it’s all worth it if it means that she finally gets to see her mum …
A gorgeous story of courage and friendship that will tug at your heart strings.
As soon as I was told about A Room Full of Chocolate, I knew it was a book that I really wanted to get my hands on. It sounded like a really intriguing story that I would love to read. Then, upon hearing so many others raving about this book, I got even more excited to read it until eventually I opened the book. Unfortunately, however, this book did not live up to the expectations that I had given it. Essentially I had expected to be blown away by this book but this simply was not the case. While I did enjoy this book and liked reading it, I was wholly disheartened by a lot of it and was constantly pulled out of the story due to the issues I had with it. I would still recommend it, but I certainly would warn that it’s not a brilliant book.
One of the things I was most drawn to about this book was that it sounded like a cute story of friendship and dealing with big scary illnesses in a really lovely way. While this book does deal with friendship, and dealing with big scary illnesses, and has its cute moments, it just didn’t deliver as I hoped it would. The biggest problem I had with the book was that there were never any repercussions for the actions of the children in the book, the pig was used as a scapegoat one too many times, and the representation of the bullying just didn’t feel right. I feel that if the characters were older then the bullying would have felt more realistic, but it was too grown up and got violent far too quickly and again, there weren’t enough consequences for these actions in the end of it. But, when you look past these things, the story is emotional, and cute, and does have a happy ending and I can see why people love it but I just couldn’t see past these issues to truly enjoy my time reading it.
I loved Grace. I thought she was the most realistic character in the book. She was rash in her decisions, kept all of her emotions at bay, and had a little bit of a temper. But she was also friendly, protective, caring, worried, and just a ten-year-old girl struggling to deal with the big real world things facing her. I also liked Megan and her free personality. She was sure of herself, strong, and protective as well. She was a great friend for Grace and I enjoyed reading about her. In all honesty, it was due to these two characters that I continued reading this book. I wanted to see where their friendship was going to take them. While some of the other characters and their actions didn’t feel quite right – such as the bullying mentioned above – I felt that these two were strong and well-written, which made it an easier book to like!
One of the best things about this book was the voice of the main character. It had a light tone that was easy to be pulled into and I found myself really wanting to read more of it. I feel that Jane has really managed to create a wonderful voice for herself and her protagonist that helps to make it an enjoyable read. While the other issues did make it hard for me to absolutely love this book, I know that I will still be keeping an eye on Jane to read whatever she publishes next as I feel that she has a lot of talent and I cannot wait to see what she will do with it. For the writing alone, I would definitely recommend this book just reminding people to take the story with a grain of salt.
Essentially this was a good story and I can see why people loved it but as it wasn’t what I was expecting and didn’t do what I was hoping it would, I struggled to love it. I did, however, still like and enjoy it and definitely want to see what Jane will be writing next. Caroline at Big Book Little Book spoke with me about this and we both decided that it is better suited for those in the higher range of middle grade fiction who can understand that what Grace and Megan did should have had heavier punishments, or to read it with younger children to be there to discuss what they think or feel about what happened. I would also add that it would be the perfect opportunity to discuss bullying with the child and what they should do if they are getting or get bullied. So it does have potential, but for me there were just a few too many things that didn’t sit right with me that pulled me away from enjoying it too much. But I’d definitely be interested to know what you think if you ever read it – or have already!