You would need a hard heart not to love this book, or to empathise with Rosie, the determined young woman who just wants to see the boy her parents want to protect her from. It’s a familiar story, but what makes it different is that Rosie has Downs Syndrome, and Jack has a brain injury which has left him with extreme anger issues and reduced literacy. As Rosie begins her epic journey, from a bitterly cold Henley-on-Thames (only 10 miles from me!) to Brighton, she sets off a massive police hunt by people who only care for her welfare, but seem to underestimate her at every turn.
On her hazardous journey, she meets the dregs of human society, who are willing to abuse and exploit her, to a warm-hearted rough sleeper and kindly souls who interfere when she really doesn’t need it. There are some truly heart-stopping moments in this story, which doesn’t shy away from tough issues, such as sex-trafficking, homelessness and bigotry. In the end, Rosie manages to outsmart the bad people, and on the way, she teaches so-called ‘normal,’ people not to make assumptions based on how someone looks on the outside.
This is a beautifully written love story, told in Rosie’s unique voice, punctuated by Jack’s heartfelt letters to Rosie, even though he knows she will never get them. Their love for each other is truly wonderful, and the ending is a gorgeous affirmation that happy ever afters are for everyone. I enjoyed this book so much. It’s an unpatronising, unflinching look at Down’s syndrome, told in an entertaining, sometimes amusing and always loving way. This was an easy ***** from me.
Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they’re separated, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head. Even defy her parents’ orders and run away from home. Even struggle across London and travel to Brighton on her own, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though people might think a girl like Rosie, who has Down syndrome, could never survive on her own.
Introducing a strong and determined protagonist with Down syndrome, debut author Mel Darbon gives readers an underrepresented but much-needed point of view with a voice-driven, heartfelt story of finding your place an often big and intimidating world.