This was my book group read for December/January, and probably not a book I would have picked up otherwise, which just goes to show that book group enriches my life!
My review contains semi-spoilers, so read on at your peril…
It is the story of a twelve year old boy who is the only survivor of a plane crash which kills his parents and only sibling. Edward (formally know as Eddie) is stunned and initially badly injured and his rehabilitation, both physical and mental is slow. He is adopted by his aunt and uncle, a couple whose inability to have children of their own has stretched their marriage to its limits, and befriended by his new next door neighbour, Shay, a girl who is a loner and a unique personality (which I know from personal experience is the best type of person, cough, cough….) . Eddie’s adopted parents try to shield him from the huge storm of media and social media interest that surrounds him and his case, trying to make his life as normal as possible, but when he and Shay break through their defences and discover the thousands of letters written to Edward since the crash, it is this very discovery that helps Edward progress towards healing. The real time chapters about Edward are interspersed with flashback chapters about the flight where we get to know many of the passengers and learn something of what happened to cause the tragedy. By the time Edward finds the letters, written mostly by friends and relatives of the other passengers, we know their stories and can with him feel their pain.
I thought the book was very wise, without being preachy. I loved the friendship between Edward and Shay, and the chapters about the flight were quite exiting. It may be a cliché that we learn to help ourselves when we stop thinking about our own pain and concentrate on how we can help others, and yet I loved this about the story and how Edward’s character progressed as he dealt with his world being turned upside down and his grief. It is ultimately a very uplifting and feel good book and I really enjoyed it.