Review: Toffee by Sarah Crossan

Told entirely in verse, Irish author Sarah Crossan's latest novel is a tale of a young runaway desperate to find a place to call home and her relationship with an older woman whose mind is slipping that believes her to be her long lost sister Toffee. Allison comes from a very broken home. Her father is abusive, her stepmother, the only person who ever loved her has left, and Allison made what she now knows is the foolish decision not to go with her when she asked. However, when her father's abusive leaves her with facial scarring, Allison knows that she has to run--far and fast. Determined to track her stepmother down, she finds herself in Cornwall, living with Marla, a lonely and confused old woman. Maybe Marla knows that Allison isn't Toffee, maybe she doesn't. She has good days and bad days. Through their relationship, and her friendship with spoiled Lucy, Allison learns much about the way that people treat one another.

And maybe, just maybe it will all come good in the end.

This is exceptional reading, the kind of YA novel that will be a hit with its target audience while at the same time ticking all the right boxes for adult readers--whether they usually read YA or not. It is a complex tale, exploring the different ways that people can hurt--and heal--those that they care about. Some of the verses left me a bit of an emotional wreak, but they told the story well, emphasising many of the experiences of the characters without going too over the top.

Highly recommended. 


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