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How to Be More Hedgehog by Anne-Marie Conway - Review

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

UCLAN Publishing are the brains behind Northern YA Lit Fest, so I've bought a few of their books when I've been at the festival, and am generally supportive of what they're publishing. So when How to Be More Hedgehog turned up on Netgalley I requested it immediately! The book was published on the 1st of September so is available now. I was provided with a free electronic copy of the book for review purposes  but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Lily is ten years old and lives with her mum and her older brother Dillon who is around thirteen. Their dad left the famiyl a few years ago and is now living in Scotland with his new partner, Abi. He is a park ranger in Loch Lomond and Abi is pregnant, which Lily is excited about. But Dillon isn't, and he hasn't spoken to their dad in quite a while. Lily's best friends are Mia, Leanne, and Sascha, but throughout the book their friendships change. At the beginning of term after Christmas Lily's class they have a new teacher, Mr Daley.

And this is where the problem is - Lily has a stammer. 'D' is one of her enemy letters that she often struggles with. She struggles to speak to him to introduce herself. She later writes to him about how she has enemy letters, which he interprets as a 'cry for help'. Lily is referred for speech therapy. Her mum mostly ignores her stammer, refusing to believe that it's much of a problem, and often cuts off Lily's sentences when she's struggling, which annoys her. 

Mia and Lily get put together to do a project about the environment. They choose plastic in the oceans to talk about, and have a brilliant idea about how to show what they're talking about. But Mia - who is often dismissive of Lily anyway - says she doesn't want Lily to do any of the presentation they have to do, because she is too worried about Lily's stammer. 

Dillon does something horrendous to Lily which unravels the rest of the book. I loved this part - it was a true betrayal and I liked how it got resolved and how it showed conflict between siblings. I loved how Lily came to know herself so much better, I liked how the book resolved itself. Being in Year 6 is tricky and I loved how that was shown, alongside all the stuff about friendships and growing up. This is an excellent middle grade book and I would thoroughly recommend it. 

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