I was attracted to this book for its cover and title – I love sunflowers! I was excited when I received an advanced copy by NetGalley for an honest review.
Title: Sunflowers in February
Author: Phyllida Shrimpton
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal, fiction
Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. and very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive, and she sees her own body, that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead.
But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and see her family – her parents and her twin brother start falling apart.
And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .
What a wonderful, quirky debut. It brought tears to my eyes, made me gasp, chuckle and smile but most of all, it gave me a sense of positivity. Lily has an upbeat personality and experiencing her viewpoint made me look at the world with fresh eyes as well as reach out for the Jelly Tots. My diet has been paused again because of a book.
It is hard to review without giving anything away but it covers the consequences of a death, grief, family bonds and how precious life is. There were times it made me stop, look around me and appreciate the moment. A little bit of mindfulness in a novel.
Would I recommend?
Yes! This is the best book I have read this year.
Have you read this yet? Let me know your thoughts below.
I haven’t managed to do much writing, apart from some entries for Amber’s journal as blogged about in Peeking in secret diaries . School has started and so has Project Nightmare.
The Ellfaenian Journals are a side project of my current work in progress which gives an insight into Amber, the main character’s life while the magical realm of Ellfaen is making itself known. It is a YA paranormal, fantasy fiction. You can catch up on her story so far here:
Does the Ellfaenian Journals work as a blog? Only time and followers will tell but I am enjoying writing Amber’s thoughts. It helps place scenes in order for The Hollow and banishes the dreaded writer’s block. If I find myself glaring at an empty screen, letting Amber talk gets the imagination flowing. Any words on a page are a bonus.
My current WIP has been in the making since my teenage years when I was obsessed with astral projection, magic and Nightmare on Elm Street. It has evolved since the first draft written at that time. I hope so, since the ending to that one involved a visit to McDonalds. It is a YA fantasy/supernatural story with some reality thrown in following 15 year old Amber as she is trapped in the world of Ellfaen with only her alcoholic father to help.
It has always been my plan to release Amber’s diary online to accompany my novel The Hollow * as a sneak in to the world of Ellfaen. Her story begins at the beginning of the school year so it was only appropriate (or complete madness)to release it now. If you want be nosy and sneak a look into her private diary you can find them here.
I have been dreaming, plotting and writing my WIP for too long but recently, as I stop procrastinating, it has developed its own twists and unexpected characters have turned up. They were not planned but I am happily writing a scene when my MC, Amber looks up and sees a guy larking around and he smiles. That unintended smile has led to him becoming part of her story when he was never supposed to be but it works, I think.
A more insistent character, Roo, has squirmed (literally) into a bigger role than planned. He was meant to have a small but significant role in linking the real world of Amber to the fantasy world she finds herself in but he was not happy just being a cameo part; he has demanded more action and with the back up of Amber he is appearing in more scenes, creating trouble but also encouraging the story along.
He is a hard character to contain because he is based on our ferret, Randall, who is as demanding and quirky in real life as in fiction. His antics and determination inspire every time he has cuddles, plays and gets into strife. His real life has not been easy after being rescued when we discovered him and his brother (sadly deceased but postmortly named Hopkirk) at the side of a road years ago. The trauma led to him to be agoraphobic for a while and he faces difficult health problems but his grit and zest for life gets him through. He is loyal and extremely affectionate. I hope my depiction of him does him justice and people grow to love him as much as those who know him.