Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 30 May 2014

A Room Full of Chocolate - Jane Elson

'I've realised that sometimes family isn't the one you are born into but the people and pigs you collect along the way.'

Ten-year-old Grace Wilson lives with her mum and dad in London, but after her mum discovers a lump, and her dad proves to be unreliable and uncaring, she is sent to live with her Grandad on his farm in Yorkshire. Grace’s mum and Grandad have been estranged for many years; Grace has never even met him before. She is desperate to stay at home and look after her mum after her surgery. Arriving reluctantly at her Grandad’s place, she meets a girl dressed in many colours, who she immediately thinks of as the ‘rainbow-girl’. This is Megan, and the little friend who precedes her into the yard is Claude the pig! Megan makes Grace feel 'a tiny ray of curious sunshine push through my grey lonely fog.' They immediately become firm friends. When Grace meets Megan’s kind mum, Allie, she discovers more about her own mum and the past too.

Grace has lots to cope with, as well as trying to understand what her mum is going through – though her family has tried to shield her from this with good intentions but perhaps misguidedly, she has done her own bit of research on the Internet and found out worrying things – she also has to adjust to a new school. Megan is there, although she is in Year six and Grace in Year five, so they are not together all the time, and there are some very unkind pupils who start to bully Grace in person as well as via nasty text messages. Grace misses her mum terribly, and finds it difficult at first living with her Grandad, who himself has to reconsider if he has been a good judge of character or not, and decide whether he can  overcome his fears and change his ways. Grace writes in her 'Special Blue Book', recording her innermost thoughts, sections of which are shared with the reader throughout the story

This is a wonderful story written with warmth and humour, with sensitive and honest handling of difficult, serious topics, namely bullying and serious illness. Grace is a great central character, innocent and kind, curious and fun, as she tries to cope with a lot of change in her life. The character development is really good with Grace seeing that there is more than one side to her Grandad, and the strong bonds of friendship between Megan and Grace are beautifully written. There is friendship and adventure, illness and sadness, humour and love, plus a couple of magical moments. There are some delightful animal characters included in the story; as well as Claude the simply fabulous, hilarious pig with his starring role, there is affectionate Lara the Golden Retriever and Martha the cat. 

I read this quickly and enjoyed it very much, the story had my attention throughout and I was keen to see how it ended. I think young readers will find much to enjoy and ponder in this lovely children's fiction debut.

Thank you to amazon vine for a review copy of this novel. 

Author links - twitter @JJELSON35 |
Published by Hodder


  1. Wow, considering what I think is a fun title this sounds like it deals with some pretty weighty issues. Definitely one for my wish list, thanks for a great review.

  2. this sounds really good Lynz, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Will definitely keep an eye out for it



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