Monday 22 August 2022

A Flash of Fireflies - Aisha Bushby

A magical middle grade book about family, friendship and finding your place, with a delicate touch of magic. Perfect for 10-12 year olds and fans of Jacqueline Wilson, Michelle Harrison and Kiran Millwood-Hargrave and The Girl Who Speaks Bear.

Hazel’s new life in England should have been the stuff of fairy tales; after all her Great Aunt’s cottage looked just like a gingerbread house, with a magical garden and whispering fireflies promising quests and adventures.

But as Hazel struggles to deal with the challenges of the everyday world –⁠ making friends, missing her family – she also learns that every fairy tale has a dark side. And there are terrifying creatures that lurk in the shadows . . .

What did I think?

I love books with a hint of fairytale in them so even though I’m not a middle-grade reader, I was drawn to A Flash of Fireflies.  The beautiful cover is enough to make you want to read this book and it even hints at the darkness inside.

The story revolves around Hazel who is leaving her home in Kuwait to live with her Great-Aunt in England.  Hazel suffers from OCD in the form of fireflies which command her to do tasks that she is compelled to complete.  Hazel thought the fireflies would be left behind in Kuwait but they follow her and she is drawn into their world and the danger within.

It’s a pretty dark book for ages 10-12 year olds but it’s important for children to read about and understand OCD.  Aisha Bushby tackles this difficult subject in a sensitive but entertaining way and I have no doubt that it will help children who are suffering from OCD as one of the messages I picked up is that they are not alone.

I was completely drawn into the magical world of the fireflies but I also loved reading about Hazel making new friends in summer school.  It’s a bit scary at times, even for the over 40s, but it’s a book I would recommend for anyone who likes reimagined fairytales.  It really is a delightful, beguiling and thought-provoking read.

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