Published By: Guppy Books
Released On: 03/02/2022
Seventeen-year-old Aisha hasn’t seen her sister June for two years. And now that a calamity is about to end the world in nine months’ time, she and her mother decide that it’s time to track her down and mend the hurts of the past. Along with Aisha’s boyfriend, Walter and his parents (and Fleabag the stray cat), the group take a road trip through Malaysia in a wildly decorated campervan – to put the past to rest, to come to terms with the present, and to hope for the future.
I have read some absolutely fantastic children/YA books recently, and this is no different.
It could have quite easily been an unsubstantial, fun, easy-going kids book about a road trip and some cats. But it’s not. Yes it is fun, involves a road trip, and there is a cat, I give it that. But it is full of substance that entertains adults from start to finish. It is so moving and really makes the reader answer some difficult questions. It’s a complex book. It’s about family and friends, love, grief and loss, a sense of togetherness, what is important, wishes and hopes, regrets and missed chances.
What I will say though, it is not about cats. There is a cat. Just the one. I was expecting more, given the title. I know it’s probably a metaphor, but I wanted this camper van to be filled with cats by the end of it. So, just know that when you read it, you don’t actually meet any cats along the way.
The planet has gone through its calamities, some man made and others natural, but to have a ticking clock to the time the planet is destroyed…how do you live like that? How do you live for today when you know there won’t be many todays left?
It’s great to read about another culture. We have a family friend who is Malaysian but I have to admit, I don’t know much about the country or its cultures or people, and so it was lovely to get, even a basic overview, or what it’s like. It sounds like a very nice place.
It’s very easy to read, which is why it probably appeals to younger audiences, but it has enough to get your teeth into to appreciate it as an older reader. It’s mostly about character development and emotional development rather than plot, for me, and that’s a positive in my eyes. I prefer reading about people rather than what they actually do. I can’t really say a particular character stood out from the rest. They are all very ordinary people living in an extraordinary time. So, I suppose, I can say that none of them stood out but at the same time, they all did.
I do wish more had been said about the actual Armageddon they were facing. It seems to be only mentioned when it suits that moment rather than being a constant thing. What is there is good, but personally I would have preferred just a little bit more about that – but that’s coming from a 29 year old reader, rather than its main target audience.
The main character is 17 and so the book sort of aims at that age range, but I think the themes cross generations. I think children and the elderly would get a similar amount from the book, even if that’s just enjoyment of the story rather than understanding the deep messages.
It’s her debut book. It’s full of meaning and emotion. Nothing was bad about it, no, no, not at all. It was a beautiful book to read, but I think it could have done with a slight finessing which comes with experience. But I am excited to see what her writing future holds, whether she sticks with children’s books or moves older, I will look forward to it.