Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Dandelion Clocks

Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott
Paperback, 272 pages

Published 6th March 2014 by Puffin UK

arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, death, medical-conditions, read-in-2014, realistic-fiction, to-read, young-adult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott Smith will be loved by fans of Jacqueline Wilson, Cathy Cassidy or Annabel Pitcher. Liv takes us on a journey through her life from "Thirteen Weeks Before" to "Six Months After". We discover Liv's passion for photography, her brother's obsession with sticking to the rules, the stupidity of Moronic Louise at school, and how the family copes as Mum's terminal illness takes hold...Guided by Mum's own childhood diaries, Liv finds a new way to live. This book is real, funny, utterly touching and absolutely heartwarming. Despite the sadness at the heart of the story, every reader will laugh and keep on turning the pages, charmed by Liv and her mum. 

When I was asked whether or not I would like to review Dandelion Clocks, I jumped at the chance. There seems to be a flood of recent YA books tackling the tough subject that is cancer, and this book is another of those. Thankfully, I think that Dandelion Clocks does add something new to this market, and it's something that's definitely worth checking out, especially for those on the 'younger' side of the young adult genre.

Dandelion Clocks is a book that is said to appeal to fans of authors such as Jacqueline Wilson, Cathy Cassidy or Annabel Pitcher. With this suggestion, you'd assume that it's a book written specifically for middle grade children, and I can easily say that yes it is, but it I would certainly not hesitate to recommend this book to any older teen or even to any adult. I was very pleasantly surprised with the complexity that this book had, the author has proven to have such a wonderful ability of reaching across to different age groups. Though the content matter is treated so carefully that it's accessible, older readers should also appreciate many of the hidden complexities, including the relationships, in this book.

As aforementioned, this is a book that includes many more issues than the main one of cancer. Our very realistic and likeable protagonist, Liv, deals with multiple issues in this book and I commend Westcott for managing to handle them all so well, with a great sense of care and authenticity.  In this novel, another focus is on Liv's brother who has Asperger's Syndrome - this was also fascinating to read about because it taught me about the effect of Asperger's on daily life and it was fantastic to see how Liv helped her brother to try understand some things that those with Aspergers find challenging - in fact, I'd say that this issue is probably rightly explored with the same amount of focus and poignancy as the cancer storyline.

What stood out to me most with this book is that it's a real coming of age story for Liv. I enjoyed seeing her subtly mature in accordance with the things around her. I liked seeing how she dealt with everyday issues, such as friendships at school. Most of all I found it interesting to see how her experience shaped her and had an effect on her and helped on the way to forming her identity and maturity. For her age, Liv seemed very mature for her age and that is another reason why I believe the older YA fans will like this book.

Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by this Dandelion Clocks - I didn't expect to love it as much as I did (for age reasons). I would have never guessed that this was Westcott's debut novel because quite simply, it is written with such a lot of care and talent. If you like the sound of the blurb/synopsis of this book, don't hesitate in picking it up, whoever you are - I am positive that you'll enjoy it. Rebecca Westcott is definitely an author to watch, and I'll definitely pick up her next offering!


  1. Oh this one sounds sweet!! I want to read it now. I love that it's aimed more toward MG, I kind of love how MG authors handle the issues you mention - they have a different approach than YA or NA authors, I find.

    Thanks for putting this book on my radar.

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