Luna Rae is not Alone by Hayley Webster

Luna Rae is Not Alone by Hayley Webster

A moving story of family and friendship told in an impressive first person voice.

New things take getting used to. Ten year old, Luna Rae knows that’s true but it isn’t helping her settle into their new house. It’s just so different. A new build, their new home is nothing like their previous one (which was a mobile home in a field, with a massive vegetable patch, and things living underneath). It smells wrong too. The good smells and the bad smells are all different. But one thing is more wrong than anything else. Mum’s new job means she’s never around. Luna does her best to help – to organise Dad and look after her little sister Lolly. She tries hard to adjust and to make friends at school. She even enters her and Mum into the school’s ‘Great Big Family Baking Competition’, despite the fact she will have to do all the work as she never sees Mum to practise. Then a chance comment from one her new friends turns her world upside down and Luna realises there is a lot more that she is going to need to get used to.

This middle grade novel has an impressive first person voice. Luna’s narration grabs the reader from the opening line. (It held my attention for the next 180 pages and I read the entire book in one sitting). Everything about Luna feels authentic and totally believable. Indeed, this ten year old perspective is as strong as any I’ve read and on par with the books that truly excel in this department. (Cymbeline in Adam Baron’s Boy Underwater and You Won’t Believe This, and the narrator in The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Rauf). The detail in the characterisation of Luna’s world view is perfectly realised and I especially enjoyed the way she has developed coping strategies to respond to the mean comments of the school bully. I also enjoyed reading Luna’s observations of the behaviour of the adults around her.

The actions and enquiries of the adults gradually make more sense as the plot unfolds. I don’t normally give the plot away in a review but, in this case, it’s hard to comment in any meaningful way without revealing the central premise (so stop reading now if you don’t want to know). Luna slowly comes to realise that Mum isn’t at work all the time – instead, she’s not actually been at their new house for weeks. However, it’s still a shock when Luna’s best friend lets slip that her Mum has moved in with a new boyfriend. After the initial shock even Luna – a child who is prone to worry – is, however, able to cope and adapt. This message about the resilience of human nature means the book leaves the reader with a positive, warm feeling of hope (and a regret that the end of the book has come too soon).

If you enjoyed this, I’d recommend you read the books by Cath Howe, also published by Nosy Crow – Ella on the Outside or Not My Fault. And if you love these, Cath’s next book will be released on 1 April 2021 – How to Be Me.

ISBN: 978-1788006040
Publication Date: February 2021
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Pages: 192Madge's 5 / 5 Star Book rating

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