by Pam Smy (Author and Illustrator)
5 out of 5 stars
Billy has run away from home. He hides away in a graveyard for several days, camping out in an old brick shelter with his backpack and sleeping bag. His mother is desperate to find her missing son, and she works with the police to start a search.
This story is told from two main perspectives, Billy and his mother. The two have a very close and affectionate relationship, but all is not well in Billy’s home, prompting him to run away. The writing perfectly balances the multiple points of views from the different characters, showing their distinct voices. There is such an appealing charm in the writing style that it draws you right in to the story, and makes the characters very endearing and relatable.
I loved this book so much! The writing is excellent, the plot is wonderful, the characters are complex; this book has everything! I was completely fascinated with every scene, and I cried at the end. I was glad that it’s not scary at all, but has lovely ghostly moods in the graveyard. I enjoyed the slightly creepy elements in the story.
So many deep themes are explored as Billy deals with issues of abandonment, domestic violence, and family loyalties. These are complex issues with many perspectives and sides, and I thought this book did such a wonderful job of addressing these sensitive topics with tenderness and understanding, but showing the reality as well. Billy discovers that all families have heartache, and that it can make you a stronger person and bring you closer together if dealt with in the right way.
Billy is a wonderful main character. His innocence and sensitivity made me love him immediately. He is thoughtful and intelligent, and I loved to see how deeply he connects with other characters that he meets. He is such a vivid and emotional character, and he made me feel emotional too.
Billy’s mother is very sweet too. She’s trapped in a difficult situation, and I was amazed by her resilience, and I was proud of her courage to take action and do something to help her son (and herself). She is a complex woman in a complex situation, and I was impressed with how the writing made her very real and relatable.
The supporting characters were not as complex, but I did like seeing their reactions within the main story and how they connected with Billy and his mother.
The black and white illustrations draw the reader right into the moment. Each scene is beautifully illustrated with such lovely delicate art. I love the way the shadows in the art mirror the emotions of each scene. The artwork makes this book truly special!
Triggers for domestic violence.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.