Walker Books Australia
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $17.99
New Zealand RRP: $19.99
For Chance Callahan life has always been simple and straightforward. She and her mum and her dog, Tige, have a happy existence with their almost-family next door including Chance’s best friend Alek. The two girls are about to start second term at their girls’ secondary school and looking forward to it greatly.
Since she was a mere toddler Chance has been an ‘all or nothing’ kind of kid – she sees things as black-and-white with no room for shades in between but things are about to impact that will force her to consider that there is room for blurring the two.
When a home makeover reality show chooses Chance’s entry to surprise her mum a chain of events unravel beginning with the producer remembering the fire that killed her father before she was born and then the discovery of photos which confirm her mother was not pregnant at that time, as she had told Chance. Her confusion is further complicated by old newspaper articles she finds hidden away in her mother’s special cabinet, detailing a horrific car crash which killed a young couple and their newborn baby. How can that dead young woman look so like herself? Why was there no evidence of the baby’s body left behind in the charred car?
Piece by piece Chance’s whole world, indeed her very existence, is called into question and with her innate attitude to truth versus lies, she’s not prepared to let her suspicions rest.
This is a pretty intense story as Chance stumbles from one revelation to another, all the time driving a bigger wedge between herself and the woman whom she has always known as her mother. It’s the support of her Sudanese almost-family next door that helps her traverse the hard road to the shocking truth about her ‘fake’ life.
Exploring themes of honesty and love, the question of ‘what is family’ and forgiveness, this is a compelling read for tweens and teens. This is a ‘coming of age’ narrative like no other I have read and I recommend it highly for astute readers from around 12 years upwards. I fully expect to see this receiving the highest accolades from all the award committees.