Book review: Hope is our Only Wing + competition

By Rutendo Tavengerwei
Published by Hot Key Books

Synopsis: For fifteen-year-old Shamiso, struggling with grief and bewilderment following her father's death, hope is nothing but a leap into darkness.

For Tanyaradzwa, whose life has been turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis, hope is the only reason to keep fighting.

As the two of them form an unlikely friendship, Shamiso begins to confront her terrible fear of loss. In getting close to another person, particularly someone who's ill, isn't she just opening herself up to more pain? And underpinning it all - what did happen to her father, the night of that strange and implausible car crash?

How did this book end up in my hands? I won a copy of this book ahead of its publication date and I was thrilled as this is my first YA novel in a long time… probably since I was a young adult myself. As I said, a long time!

Was it a page-turner? This is not a fast paced novel in the way that a thriller can be but the short chapters make it very easy to read one after the other in quick succession until you realise there are no more. Besides, once you start getting attached to the girls, you just have to know how it ends for them.

Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? Yes. I love the small section on the back cover called What’s in it?, which shows the main themes of the book. It is a lovely touch – and accurate. Based on the synopsis, I would have maybe expected the story to be more equally divided between Shamiso and Tanyaradzwa but the narrative seems to be focused more on Shamiso.

Did I like the ending? If I consider the target audience of this novel, I think the ending couldn’t have been better. I do like more open and ambiguous endings though and – were this an adult fiction book – I would have probably preferred to be left in doubt.

Did the book leave me with unanswered questions? There is a lot I would like to know about a few minor characters but that doesn’t mean that the book left anything unresolved. It just means that all characters were intriguing enough to want to know more!

Three words to describe it. Gentle. Raw. Uplifting.

Do I like the cover? Yes, the warm colours of the cover transport you immediately to Zimbabwe, where the novel is set.

Have I read any other books by the same author? This is the author’s debut novel.

Will I want to read other books by the same author? Yes, I look forward to what will come next.

Will I be recommending this book? Yes, and even though this book falls into the YA novel category, I would definitely recommend it to adults too. Grief is such a difficult feeling to write about and I think Rutendo Tavengerwei did that beautifully.

Anything else? Yes! You can win a copy of this book by following me on Twitter and retweeting the competition post by 24/06. UK only. Comment left below will count as extra entries (one per person). Good luck!

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