Mud

Lydia is nearly 13 and, as far as she is concerned, her father’s decision to sell the large family home two years after her mother’s death and move his three children into a leaky Thames sailing barge in Essex, will totally ruin her life. Add to the mix three soon-to-be step-siblings, a new step-Mum and the dawning realisation that her gentle father has serious issues from which he is escaping through alcohol, and life will never, ever be the same once they move to the Lady Beatrice.

Starting in June 1979, the story unwinds over the course of a year as Lydia tries to make sense of what’s happening around her. She has a knack for empathy beyond her years and seems to be more perceptive than those around her, but she is also powerless to influence how things ultimately turn out. As such, it is a realistic depiction of adolescence, told with humour and confusion, pathos and honesty.

Within the trials and tribulations are good things that make her life better than it was. A real best friend as opposed to the bullying one she had in the old school, a new kitten, surprising connections with step-siblings and even a boyfriend, maybe, if she can work out how to tell if a boy is actually interested. It’s such a rollercoaster of a year, that you really need to know how things will work out for her and it’s worth the wait.