Ever since we read The Dinosaur’s Packed Lunch when she was very young, my daughter and I have loved Jacqueline Wilson books. From Hetty Feather to The Butterfly Club and Clover Moon to Katy, Jacqueline Wilson has written some really brilliant stories. Sadly I fear my daughter might be starting to get a bit old for them, but she never seems to tire of them and there are still a few books she hasn’t read. She’d heard that Lola Rose was a particularly good one, which even friends who don’t much like Jacqueline Wilson have enjoyed.
Nobody writes a story about tough times and difficult issues like Jacqueline Wilson. And poor old Lola Rose has two difficult issues to deal with – domestic violence and cancer.
Lola Rose didn’t always have such a glamorous name. She used to be plain old Jayni, a quiet girl with little confidence, whose dad beats her mum. When her dad hits Jayni for the first time, Jayni, her mum and her little brother, Kenny run away. To keep themselves safe, they take on new identities and Jayni chooses the name Lola Rose for herself.
But she soon realises that changing her name may be easy, but starting a new life isn’t quite as easy. Lola Rose’s mum is pretty chaotic and she often finds herself looking after her little brother, who misses his dad, and worrying about money. Lola Rose lives in constant fear that her dad will track them down and drag them back home.
When her mum finds a lump in her breast, Lola Rose is left trying to care for Kenny and her mum and wondering how on earth they will even afford to eat. In desperation, she calls her mum’s estranged sister, Auntie Barbara. Auntie Barbara bustles into their lives and does all she can to care for them.
Will Lola Rose and her family get their happy ending?
This is a very moving book for slightly older readers than the average Jacqueline Wilson. Jacqueline Wilson herself says it is one of the books which is closest to her heart and Auntie Barbara is one of her favourite characters she’s ever created. Written with the help of a mum with cancer and her two daughters, it really is a beautiful and emotional read for older tweens and young teenagers.