A Library of Lemons
A poignant story about dealing with grief through the magic of reading and friendship.Calypso's mum died a few years ago and her emotionally incompetent Dad can't, or won't, talk about Mum at all. Instead he throws himself into writing his book A History of the Lemon. Meanwhile the house is dusty, there's never any food in the fridge, and Calypso retreats into her own world of books and fiction. When a new girl, Mae, arrives at school, the girls' shared love of reading and writing stories draws them together. Mae's friendship and her lively and chaotic home - where people argue and hug each other - make Calypso feel more normal than she has for a long time. But when Calypso finally plucks up the courage to invite Mae over to her own house, the girls discover the truth about her dad and his magnum opus - and Calypso's happiness starts to unravel.

A Library of Lemons Details

TitleA Library of Lemons
Author
ReleaseMay 5th, 2016
PublisherPiccadilly Press LTD
ISBN-139781848125117
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fiction, Writing, Books About Books, Family, Contemporary

A Library of Lemons Review

  • Suze Lavender
    January 1, 1970
    Calypso is living with her dad. Her mother passed away a few years ago. Her dad is emotionally closed off and spends all of his time working on his book, A History of the Lemon. Even though Calypso is ten years old she has to clean the house, look after her father and cook her own dinners. There's never a stocked fridge and the house is dusty. Fortunately Calypso can lose herself in stories. She reads and she writes and her father has taught her that being her own company is enough. That changes Calypso is living with her dad. Her mother passed away a few years ago. Her dad is emotionally closed off and spends all of his time working on his book, A History of the Lemon. Even though Calypso is ten years old she has to clean the house, look after her father and cook her own dinners. There's never a stocked fridge and the house is dusty. Fortunately Calypso can lose herself in stories. She reads and she writes and her father has taught her that being her own company is enough. That changes when Calypso meets Mae. Mae is vibrant and cheerful and she brings Calypso the joy she has missed in her life.It isn't easy for Calypso to share her world with Mae. While she's been at Mae's house many times she avoids inviting her back. When Mae finally visits Calypso's house Calypso can't hide what her life is really like any longer. What will happen to her and her father now that other people know?A Library of Lemons is an amazing story about a girl who learns to find light and happiness after being lonely for a long time. My heart ached when I read about Calypso and her father. Sometimes life can be unfair, but being brave helps to get through the bad times. I loved her strength and her creativity. Calypso and Mae are both intelligent main characters. They love stories and it's clear that Jo Cotterill is passionate about books and reading. I loved her enthusiasm about the topics she's chosen for her book. Jo Cotterill has written an amazing story about a sensitive topic. There are so many children who don't have an easy life at home and she writes about it in an understanding and moving way. Her sentences flow easily and her writing is beautiful. A Library of Lemons is sad, but hopeful. It's a book about light and dark. I loved the philosophical character of the story. It's interesting, but also easy to understand. I liked this book very much highly recommend it.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a gift from a friend who knows just how much I adore books… and lemons.I had just finished Edith’s Diary by Patricia Highsmith when my eyes landed on the recently arrived copy of A Library of Lemons. Its bright cover seemed to whisper promises of a lightness that I most certainly craved after having read the haunting Highsmith. Little did I know…I would say that A Library of Lemons is a considerately written novel about the importance of people – when I say people I don’t simply me This book was a gift from a friend who knows just how much I adore books… and lemons.I had just finished Edith’s Diary by Patricia Highsmith when my eyes landed on the recently arrived copy of A Library of Lemons. Its bright cover seemed to whisper promises of a lightness that I most certainly craved after having read the haunting Highsmith. Little did I know…I would say that A Library of Lemons is a considerately written novel about the importance of people – when I say people I don’t simply mean the ones that surround us, the others, but also ourselves, our own existence.People need people. You can’t just keep yourself apart all the time so that you don’t get hurt. All that means is you get hurt anyway and you’re alone.I believe Jo Cotterill more than succeeds at conveying the message that we need each other. We may not always know how to reach out, we may not always recognize when someone else is trying to reach out, but closing our eyes altogether will certainly not help. We may feel as if we are protecting our loved ones, but they know, they know something is going on, they just don’t know how to ask – or perhaps they are afraid.I think this is one important book, particularly for young readers. The language is more than suitable for youngsters and the storyline creates a safe haven that I believe is vital to the process of learning how to open up. In a world that seems far too quick to judge, and way too slow when it comes to forgiving, A Library of Lemons is like a friendly hand leading us toward a middle ground that seems utopic to many, but that exists.A novel about grief, yes. A Library of Lemons is the light at the end of a tunnel that might at first feel endlessly long. A Library of Lemons is a reminder that no matter how long, a tunnel will always be a tunnel and that means it will always have a way out. Baby steps. One. And another. And another…‘So… how can two opposite things both be normal?’Mae bites her lip thoughtfully. ‘It sort of makes you wonder how anyone works out what normal is.’‘And if no one is really sure…’ I say. ‘If people are just making up their own idea of normal, then…’‘Then anything is normal. And everything,’ concludes Mae.
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  • Steve Griffin
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful book about the mistaken routes we take to cope with grief and the long-term harm they do. Lovely, lucid writing - I particularly liked the image of the father receiving an invitation and looking like a hamster about to be plucked from its cage. Recommended for readers aged 10+, including grown-ups.
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  • Bev
    January 1, 1970
    Warning: tissues will be needed. Calypso's mum died, and now her dad has become very closed off and remote, telling her that she shouldn't cry but should instead develop 'inner strength'. Calypso is quite a solitary girl relying on the company of the fictional characters in her beloved books until a new girl, Mae arrives at her school who has a similar love of words and books. The girls become fast friends but Mae's very normal, noisy family life serves to highlight the disparity with Calypso's Warning: tissues will be needed. Calypso's mum died, and now her dad has become very closed off and remote, telling her that she shouldn't cry but should instead develop 'inner strength'. Calypso is quite a solitary girl relying on the company of the fictional characters in her beloved books until a new girl, Mae arrives at her school who has a similar love of words and books. The girls become fast friends but Mae's very normal, noisy family life serves to highlight the disparity with Calypso's quiet, lonely life with her dad. Things come to a head in a heartbreaking scene that involves lemon throwing and afterwards Calypso finally starts to get some help with her father's and her own grief.Jo Cotterill's writing is just beautiful without being overly sentimental and the story both highlights the lives of young carers and portrays grief in a very realistic and poignant way. I'm not ashamed to say I cried buckets and Lemons is a book I will definitely reread - I can give no greater compliment than this, I rarely read a book more than once as my tbr list is far too long! The story , although achingly sad, is hopeful too , there are no easy answers for Calypso and her dad but things do start to improve by the end of the book. I loved it, last year I spent the year recommending Sarah Crossan's One to anyone that would listen, this year I won't be shutting up about A Library of Lemons - it is simply wonderful.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    This is a gentle and deceptively understated story and yet it has an emotional punch. Sadly children acting as carers are increasingly common and for the right child at the right time this book written with wisdom and care could be a life saver. Jo Cottrell's story covers subjects often found in Jacqueline Wilson's books and so this would appeal to readers who enjoy her style. Calypso is a child that you very quickly care about and her quiet courage is heartbreaking at times. This would be an ex This is a gentle and deceptively understated story and yet it has an emotional punch. Sadly children acting as carers are increasingly common and for the right child at the right time this book written with wisdom and care could be a life saver. Jo Cottrell's story covers subjects often found in Jacqueline Wilson's books and so this would appeal to readers who enjoy her style. Calypso is a child that you very quickly care about and her quiet courage is heartbreaking at times. This would be an excellent book for prompting discussion particularly about what is 'normal' and whether in fact anything can be described as 'normal'. The importance of books and stories to Calypso is very interesting too. A lovely book.
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  • Ben Trevail
    January 1, 1970
    24 hours after finishing this wonderful book, I'm still mentally and emotionally processing its themes. In simple terms, it's an easy read but it would take a mature KS2 to deal with the core issues of bereavement, mental breakdowns and young carers. These themes are beautifully woven through the story of a young girl, Calypso, who makes friends with a fellow book-worm, Mae. It's beautifully written and it's impossible not to feel deep sympathy and empathy for Calypso who has the weight of the w 24 hours after finishing this wonderful book, I'm still mentally and emotionally processing its themes. In simple terms, it's an easy read but it would take a mature KS2 to deal with the core issues of bereavement, mental breakdowns and young carers. These themes are beautifully woven through the story of a young girl, Calypso, who makes friends with a fellow book-worm, Mae. It's beautifully written and it's impossible not to feel deep sympathy and empathy for Calypso who has the weight of the world on her shoulders.
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  • Hélène Louise
    January 1, 1970
    A lovely story about family, friendship, love of reading and writing - but also the danger of immersing into books and stories, escaping the whole world.The narrative tone is perfect, simple and naive without being childish. The narrator's point of view is cleverly used to slowly revealing reality, layer after layer. Things seems simple enough until we understand what is really happening.The characters are well defined, endearing in their qualities and flaws. The story's contemporary but the sty A lovely story about family, friendship, love of reading and writing - but also the danger of immersing into books and stories, escaping the whole world.The narrative tone is perfect, simple and naive without being childish. The narrator's point of view is cleverly used to slowly revealing reality, layer after layer. Things seems simple enough until we understand what is really happening.The characters are well defined, endearing in their qualities and flaws. The story's contemporary but the style has a really nice vintage flavour.The enthusiasm of the two young readers is communicative, there are a lot of references to classics, especially children's books, as Anne of Green Gables, which is in my to-be-read-soon books'list :P
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  • Amatullah Hashi
    January 1, 1970
    I read it about a few months ago and it was very inspiring and entertaining.It is pretty good.
  • Tanya
    January 1, 1970
    A LOVELY book – I highly recommend it.Calypso and her dad live an isolated life, their main company being their books – for which each has their own library at home. When Calypso looks up from a book long enough to make a friend, Mae, she comes to realise how lovely it can be to be part of a normal family: Mae has mum, dad and younger brother, who offer her support she scarcely knows she needs.Calypso, who misses her late mum, does all the cooking and housework, hardly realising how dependent he A LOVELY book – I highly recommend it.Calypso and her dad live an isolated life, their main company being their books – for which each has their own library at home. When Calypso looks up from a book long enough to make a friend, Mae, she comes to realise how lovely it can be to be part of a normal family: Mae has mum, dad and younger brother, who offer her support she scarcely knows she needs.Calypso, who misses her late mum, does all the cooking and housework, hardly realising how dependent her father has become. He has a determination that everything can be sorted through channelling ones’ inner strength, leaving Calypso feeling something of a failure if she becomes tearful.A poignant story of a lovely youngster who has become a carer for her bereaved dad, and finds her comfort in a wonderful array of books, a passion she learns to share with a special friend. Jo Cotterill, and established author, covers the difficult topics sensitively, making a highly readable novel for readers of 9+. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in return for this honest review.I have since bought it for school.
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  • Adele Broadbent
    January 1, 1970
    Calypso is used to being on her own at school, preferring reading than trying to make friends. Her dad had told her that they didn’t need anyone else. They had “inner strength”.But when Calypso finds a friend in Mae-the new girl in her class, she realises they do need people and life is so much better with friends, hugs when you need one and a shoulder to cry on when you are sad.How will she prove this to Dad to bring him out of his melancholy existence after the loss of her mum?This story was f Calypso is used to being on her own at school, preferring reading than trying to make friends. Her dad had told her that they didn’t need anyone else. They had “inner strength”.But when Calypso finds a friend in Mae-the new girl in her class, she realises they do need people and life is so much better with friends, hugs when you need one and a shoulder to cry on when you are sad.How will she prove this to Dad to bring him out of his melancholy existence after the loss of her mum?This story was full of book references which were fun to tick off as read. The characters were realistic – Mae with her loving mum and dad and ‘normal’ way of life, and Calypso with her distant dad who left her to cook her own tea (beans on toast), tidy the house and remind him to buy food.Mae and Calypso’s friendship is heart warming and sad at the same time, as Calypso realises how much she is missing out on without her own mum.Lovely story of hope after loss.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    This book is just gorgeous. From the comforting and familiar book references to the heartbreaking story of Calypso I loved every page. The shy and serious 10 year old with her love of books and words, is missing her Mum terribly. Her Dad is withdrawn and sorrowful, only seeming to care about his life's work, a book on the history of the lemon. Then Calypso meets Mae. A kindred spirit who reads the same books and is just as passionate about words and learning. The two girls bond together and just This book is just gorgeous. From the comforting and familiar book references to the heartbreaking story of Calypso I loved every page. The shy and serious 10 year old with her love of books and words, is missing her Mum terribly. Her Dad is withdrawn and sorrowful, only seeming to care about his life's work, a book on the history of the lemon. Then Calypso meets Mae. A kindred spirit who reads the same books and is just as passionate about words and learning. The two girls bond together and just being around Mae's loving family is a huge treat to Calypso. The warmth and love of their friendship flows flawlessly through this wonderful story, completely drawing me in right from the first page. A brilliant book, I absolutely loved it!
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  • Astrid Lim
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful, heartbreaking, and heartwarming at the same time. Love the narrator, love the characters, and love the bookish settings- many references to great books- one of the best middle grade books I’ve read so far!
  • Nina Spence
    January 1, 1970
    Read this with my 11 year old son. Superb, moving, sensitive and interesting characters. We both loved it.
  • Andrea Chiricescu
    January 1, 1970
    Read it in a heartbeat! A wonderful story to recommend for your teenage children! Shortly explores one of the most commonly asked questions - what does it mean to be normal?
  • Katherine Sunderland
    January 1, 1970
    Well you don't need to ask why I wanted to read this book! Of course, it was the word library in the title! The synopsis also really appealed. The story is about 10 year old Calypso whose mum has died a few years ago and her father, who is clearly emotionally struggling to cope with his grief, throws himself into writing his own book ("A History of the Lemon") leaving everything else to Calypso. As a passionate reader, she retreats into her own world of books and fiction. When she meets new girl Well you don't need to ask why I wanted to read this book! Of course, it was the word library in the title! The synopsis also really appealed. The story is about 10 year old Calypso whose mum has died a few years ago and her father, who is clearly emotionally struggling to cope with his grief, throws himself into writing his own book ("A History of the Lemon") leaving everything else to Calypso. As a passionate reader, she retreats into her own world of books and fiction. When she meets new girl Mae at school, the girls' shared love of reading and writing stories draws them together and shows Calypso a way to understand her world, feelings and family. It sounded right up my street.I have not come across Jo Cotterill before but I have since learned she has written over 20 books for children which I am now looking forward to discovering. She describes this book as a story "about what it means to be human." It is a heart wrenching, moving, engrossing and exquisite book. I was totally taken with it and so loved spending time with Calypso and her painful struggle to realise the world around her; to gain the insight and "inner strength" to find happiness and rebuild a future for herself and her lost father.The book opens with a series of very short, frank paragraphs where Cotterill effectively lets Calypso introduce herself through her own unwitting repetition of her dad's sayings. It is easy to build a picture of a lonely, isolated young girl who is full of questions she is unable to ask as "it's not the sort of thing I'd ask Dad and I can't ask Mum because she's dead." Her father seems to have embedded the idea that Calypso does not need friends - "you should be your own best friend" and "you shouldn't need other people to make you happy." Although her teachers call her solitary, she tells us this is not a bad thing. You just need to have "inner strength'. Her dad is a firm believer in "inner strength". The sad innocence of Calypso's further comment that "it's not that he doesn't love me..." and "it's not that I don't like people. But I prefer books," speak volumes (excuse the pun!) and such subtle implications allow the reader to perceive a conflict within this ten year old even though she can't see it herself. There is a continued repetition of the words "inner strength" throughout the novel and they are powerfully used to explore the concept of friendship, parenting, happiness and love. It's also a bit of a mantra from both Dad and Calypso as they try to convince themselves they are fine, they are whole and they are happy. It's also used by the father as an excuse not to confront his emotions, mental state and more urgently, responsibilities towards Calypso. He is hidden away writing his book while Calypso finds the cupboards empty again and says silently "You didn't go shopping and you promised you would. You said Scout's Honour. And I'm trying so hard to find inner strength but I'm not sure where to look." This child is trying so fiercely to please her father; to cope, to follow in his example to not fail him. She is confused by the fact that she can't find her inner strength and what this might mean. This is a child desperately in need of a father. It is heart rendering but I did not find it sentimental. Using the perspective of a child and Calypso's blunt, honest, open voice saves the novel from becoming any kind of social services report or sob story. She's a thoughtful, reflective, very likeable and endearing child. This is a story about families, friendship and finding your inner strength. New girl Mae then arrives at school. She is a warm, funny, articulate and imaginative child who immediately hits it off with Calypso. "I knew you were a kindred spirit," she tells Calypso who realises "we have become friends and I didn't even mean to." She didn't realise there were other people in the world who preferred the imaginary world to the real one. Calypso begins to go to Mae's house - the first time she has really gone into another family. She watches the family interact together, fascinated and bemused. Mae's family row - Calypso's dad never argues, he just retreats and leaves her feeling like a "cloud, thundery and dark". She is perplexed by the way the arguments escalate and then diffuse or get forgotten as the family come back together. From watching Mae's family, from spending more time with them, Calypso begins to learn more about how a family should function and how humans relate and interact together. Following one particular incident, a crying Calypso finds herself being comforted by Mae's mum. She is "enveloped in warmth and security and strength and the tears stream even faster because it's almost like I'm borrowing a mother, something deep inside me bursts and my knees buckle but Mae's mum holds me up. Someone else is holding me up.....someone else is being strong for me. It's such a relief." I loved the following contemplation from Calypso which comes later in the story:"Maybe if you lock away the sadness for too long it all builds up. Like filling a tank. And one day the tank bursts and you have way more sadness than normal because it's all been stored away. Maybe it's important to let yourself be sad sometimes...to stop the tank filling up." Calypso's pensive observations are naive and candid but simultaneously full of insight and revelation. I loved the way she began to interpret the world and her thoughts "exploded" and "collided" in her head; the "world slows down to settle into a new pattern."There is a terribly powerful moment for Calypso where she finally realises what it means to have inner strength and why her dad is so sad and so frightened to love her. Her distinctive and strong voice tells us that "I think maybe you can be a family with just two people, one step at a time on our journey. But hopefully we're going the same way now." The final few pages repeat the words "lemon" and "yellow" for deliberate effect and to signify the journey both Calypso and her father have travelled. The final lines use the words "shine", "lemon," "glistening" and "light" which draw us back to her mother's painting and her father's writing but reinventing them in an image of optimism, hope and love. There is much about the power of books and stories in this novel. Cotterill is clearly a passionate bibliomaniac and the references to other novels and the way the girls' enthuse about reading and talk about the fictional characters as if they are real, enhances Cotterill's own fictional characters, plot and atmosphere. The power of writing to heal (both adults and children), to say what can't be said aloud or face to face, to process, to confront and see clearly, is incredibly powerful. A strong case for the use writing therapy within mental health if ever there was one. I could not tear my eyes away from these passages, even when I had to feel around me for my discarded, already sodden, tissue. I'm interested in how many children's books tackle the issue of grief, loneliness, solitude and mental illness at the moment. This is certainly a book which could be used to support children with difficult emotional lives. It would be a great read for any young adult as books are always a useful tool for empathy, curiosity and the start of a tricky conversation. There is a certain safety in exploring difficult feelings and ideas through the pages of fiction. But I would end by saying that above all this is a novel about a beautiful young girl and her empowering journey of self discovery. It is a book of warmth, friendship, love, hope and inner strength! I'll leave you with a final quote from Calypso:"the strongest people are the ones who love others and let themselves be loved back. If you have inner strength but no one to love, what is it for?" A 5* read. My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review. For more recommendations and review follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacUK)
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    A Library of Lemons is a heartfelt and magical story about the power of books and friendship. I completely lost myself in the pages of this warm and engaging book and my heart went out to Calypso and the story she was telling. At ten years old, Calypso has already spent a few years of her life without her mum, who died of cancer, and now living alone with her dad, she is being taught all about inner strength and forces herself to keep her emotions tucked away whilst seeking comfort in books. I c A Library of Lemons is a heartfelt and magical story about the power of books and friendship. I completely lost myself in the pages of this warm and engaging book and my heart went out to Calypso and the story she was telling. At ten years old, Calypso has already spent a few years of her life without her mum, who died of cancer, and now living alone with her dad, she is being taught all about inner strength and forces herself to keep her emotions tucked away whilst seeking comfort in books. I could identify with Calypso on so many levels and really believed in her character and how as much as she loved reading for the excitement and intrigue of every story, it was also something her mum had loved to do too and so every time she picked up a book, she felt connected with her mum. But right from the start of this book, even though you can see Calypso has grown comfortable in her own company, I was rooting for her to build up a friendship with Mae, the new girl at school, so she didn’t have to live through her grief alone as her dad took to holding in his feelings, wrapped up in writing his own book, A History of the Lemon. A Library of Lemons is thoroughly heart-warming and beautifully told. It was lovely and satisfying to see Calypso’s character grow through the strength of friendship and I really enjoyed seeing her come out of her shell and smile and laugh and find that bit of happiness she’d been missing. What I also loved about this book was how both Calypso and Mae always stayed true to themselves. Rather than their friendship meaning they left the books behind, they bonded over their shared love of reading and all the little literary references, all the authors and titles mentioned throughout the story, all of the bad reviews/publishing rejections had me nodding and smiling and channelling my inner book geek. Jo Cotterill’s writing is very profound and beneath the emotional surface of this inspired novel are many layers of hopefulness and glimmers of positivity. Mae and Calypso bond over their shared creativity and imagination and their love of writing stories together is rewarding and entertaining to read. They were both interesting and engaging characters and their happiness and excitement was infectious, really lifting the mood of the story so it is never overwhelmingly sad – simply optimistic. Through Calypso’s newfound friendship, we get to see her character really begin to learn about life as she spends more and more time with Mae. Calypso is both brave and clever and picks up on so much from her new friend such as different feelings and emotions – how it’s normal to show them – as well as how people interact as a family. Can her and her dad count as a family when there’s only two of them? It was a tender and charming aspect of the story watching Mae try and work this one out. What a delightful little novel.
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  • Eve beinguniquebooks
    January 1, 1970
    Calypso loves to read, so does new girl Mae. Set over the year following them meeting, we watch them both grow together as they learn a lot.Calypso's dad has made her believe she doesn't need people and being independent, solitary and reading not interacting with others is good as it makes you strong. Only Calypso is the adult we soon learn as she lost her mum and she has forcibly taken over the care of herself and her dad as he works endlessly on his lemons he grows and writes a book about.When Calypso loves to read, so does new girl Mae. Set over the year following them meeting, we watch them both grow together as they learn a lot.Calypso's dad has made her believe she doesn't need people and being independent, solitary and reading not interacting with others is good as it makes you strong. Only Calypso is the adult we soon learn as she lost her mum and she has forcibly taken over the care of herself and her dad as he works endlessly on his lemons he grows and writes a book about.When Calypso is with Mae she is happy and joyous as she discovers her mum is lovely and including her into their family life like a fellow daughter.Calypso lost her mum to cancer and loves to know her books are close by as they link them, so when she discovers them to be discarded by her dad, something becomes clear that there's a deeper issue and we fellow all of them as her father starts counselling for depression and Calypso begins attending meetings for other young carers alike her.This was a moving and emotional book which shows how tough loss, depression and isolation can be for someone especially so young as Calypso was eleven in the book. The title and her dad's hobby was so random but the phase when life gives you lemons, ironically plays it's role eventually making the book more bittersweet that just bitter from the death of Calpyso's mum and all hope is not lost as her new friendship with Mae gives her everything she'd been shut away from. A unique and strange but great story.
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  • Calypso
    January 1, 1970
    My daughter and I found this book at our local library. First we were attracted by the cover and title ('library' & 'lemons') and it seemed perfect to my daughter who loves reading and writing. Since my daughter loved reading this one, I decided to read it for our mum/daughter book club. I was surprised that there were some uncanny similarities to us in this book. First, my daughter has a few things in common with Calypso : introverted, bookish, only child, having a best friend who is extrov My daughter and I found this book at our local library. First we were attracted by the cover and title ('library' & 'lemons') and it seemed perfect to my daughter who loves reading and writing. Since my daughter loved reading this one, I decided to read it for our mum/daughter book club. I was surprised that there were some uncanny similarities to us in this book. First, my daughter has a few things in common with Calypso : introverted, bookish, only child, having a best friend who is extroverted. Like Mae, my daughter has a Japanese mum ! While reading Calypso and Mae looked to me like my daughter's not-so-far future, sometimes I felt Calypso was speaking for my daughter. I was wondering if we were allowing our daughter to be herself: listening to her attentively, letting her to do what she wants to do, giving her enough space, respecting her decision and choice. Some subjects might be a little advanced for a girl who's just turned 8 year old, for example, social workers & disfunction families, Calypso's father's depression, Calypso's worrying about her dad's suicide. But it is important for children to know that they could ask for help from adults instead of keeping problems by themselves. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to talk about it with my daughter at our bookclub. We'll probably make lemon drizzle cakes to accompany.
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  • sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Initially, I was enticed by the adorable cover and the unique title (lemons and libraries? who wouldn't be intrigued!) After reading the synopsis, I knew that this for sure had to be a book that I picked up soon! I read the whole thing in about 3 hours from start to finish, never wanting to set the book down. The story was heartfelt, heartbreaking, and heartwarming. The narrative is naive, yet strong, and is extremely genuine and honest. The newfound best friends, Mae and Calypso, really remind Initially, I was enticed by the adorable cover and the unique title (lemons and libraries? who wouldn't be intrigued!) After reading the synopsis, I knew that this for sure had to be a book that I picked up soon! I read the whole thing in about 3 hours from start to finish, never wanting to set the book down. The story was heartfelt, heartbreaking, and heartwarming. The narrative is naive, yet strong, and is extremely genuine and honest. The newfound best friends, Mae and Calypso, really remind me of myself at their age and my strong reliance on fiction to get me through everyday life. I adored the way Calypso was able to teach herself a valuable lesson, while also sharing her wisdom with those around her. I loved the writing style and the imagery that wove its way through the story. The underlying theme of learning to ask for help and to lend a help to others who are unable to ask for help was poignant and truthful and a wonderful lesson to be absorbed through such a beautiful story. I am confident in saying that Calypso's story will resonate and stick with many readers, myself included, for years to come.
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  • vias_bookland
    January 1, 1970
    Although this book may not appeal to many, and does have a strange storyline, it is worth a read.Calypso lives with her dad, life has always been the same. She has never had any friends and prefers to read - just like her mum did. Her dad is always busy at home, writing his book about the history of lemons. One day, Mae joins Calypso's schools and hue become best friends, they both love book and story writing. They even plan on making a Wendy house together! When Mae comes round Calypso's house, Although this book may not appeal to many, and does have a strange storyline, it is worth a read.Calypso lives with her dad, life has always been the same. She has never had any friends and prefers to read - just like her mum did. Her dad is always busy at home, writing his book about the history of lemons. One day, Mae joins Calypso's schools and hue become best friends, they both love book and story writing. They even plan on making a Wendy house together! When Mae comes round Calypso's house, she goes to shoe her her Mum's books. Much to her surprise, instead of books, there is something much worse, lemons!
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  • Alex Peachman
    January 1, 1970
    Ten-year-old Calypso's mum died when she was little, and she lives with her reclusive father - both of them have retreated into a world of books. When she starts a friendship with Mae and her noisy, happy family, she realises that life could be different...This is a story about coping with loss and the importance of connecting with people in the real world. I have given it three stars because I wasn't entirely convinced by the narrator's voice - Calypso seemed a lot older than 10, however well-r Ten-year-old Calypso's mum died when she was little, and she lives with her reclusive father - both of them have retreated into a world of books. When she starts a friendship with Mae and her noisy, happy family, she realises that life could be different...This is a story about coping with loss and the importance of connecting with people in the real world. I have given it three stars because I wasn't entirely convinced by the narrator's voice - Calypso seemed a lot older than 10, however well-read she was!
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Ten year old Calypso has lost her mother to cancer and her father is so caught up in his grief and depression that she is forced to look after herself. She is convinced she doesn't need friends, but then she meets a new classmate, Mae, and they bond over a love of books. Visiting Mae's family helps Calypso realise that her life with her father should not be that hard.This is a sensitive, beautifully written book that touches on difficult topics like death and mental illness.
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  • Lisa Ram
    January 1, 1970
    A heart warming story. I was halfway through when I bought one for my mom. I find the main character, Calypso, easy to relate to. At some point the reflections she made seemed a little beyond her years, but the idea is that she went through a tough situation and was able to overcome it. It is a book with a message that might seem predictable, but it isn't less beautiful because of it. Aimed at young readers, but enjoyable by adults as well.
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  • Kate Roux
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this book. I know it's a children's book but my 44-year old self absolutely loved it. I think my favourite part was all the references to books I loved as a child like Anne of Green Gables and Pollyanna. Calypso's voice was so clear, and I loved how sensitively and wisely the author writes about the hard things in this story. I won'f forget this book in a hurry :)
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  • Catherine Drake
    January 1, 1970
    Bedtime reading for 11 year old. Sad tale of a motherless and lonely girl whose struggling & driven father falls into a grief-linked depression when his book manuscript on the history of lemons is rejected. Her blossoming friendship with new girl Mae helps her to find the strength to cope and the story ends on an upbeat note with a message of hope & support for all young carers.
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  • Charlotte Latham
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written account of people trying to come to terms with grief. Calypso escapes in a world of books until a school friendship begins to help her cope, and her father seems unaware that the house is decaying around them and there is no food. It sounds a miserable book but it's warm and even funny in places. I really enjoyed it.
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  • Kylie wilkinson
    January 1, 1970
    I went into this thinking that it was going to be a cute, happy kids book. God was I wrong. I think the best thing about this book was that I didnt read the blurb or anything. I jut read it. I didnt expect anything that happened. I loved it so much and related to Mae and calypso alot. The way it was written was also very unique I HIGHLY recommend this book its truly amazing, eye opening, and makes you look at the people you love in a different way!
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  • Lydia Duncalfe
    January 1, 1970
    'The story flowed into her mind, just as it flows into mine. Through this book, we are connected. And there she is again, in my mind's eye, smiling in the sunshine. Books give you more than stories. Books can give you back people you've lost'- Calypso.
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  • Johanna
    January 1, 1970
    A subtle and heartfelt story of a young girl navigating human relationships and (spoiler alert) her father's depression. On a personal level it reminded me quite a lot of a personal experience I have with my best friend, so a very emotional read for me. I definitely recommend this book.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    Bittersweet indeed, this one moved me to tears. A touching story about vulnerability, strength, connection and loss. It also spoke to me because of the main characters' love of words and writing. It inspires creativity.
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