all that's bright and gone

3.5 stars

A heartbreaking mystery told by six-year-old Aoife.

The story is told by six-year-old Aoife. No one can see her best friend Teddy, and her mama says it’s rude to talk to people that no one else can see. Teddy is always with her and helps her navigate life. One day on their way to the mall, her mama starts talking to her older brother Theo. Aoife is confused. No one ever talks about it, but her older brother Theo died a long time ago. Her neighbor friend says Theo was murdered. She’s eight, so Aoife figures she knows what she’s talking about. Her mama has a breakdown and is hospitalized. Aoife’s Uncle Donnie comes to take care of her. Aoife is convinced that if she solves what happened to Theo, her mama will get better and come home.

Reading a book from the perspective of a six-year-old is an interesting change. The book is well written and the story moves along at a good pace. The author does a good job of depicting how perceptive children can be to things going around them, but also how damaging and scary things can be when they aren’t provided enough information to understand what is happening in their family. While adults think that they are protecting children from bad things that happen, often what young children think is going on is scarier than the truth.

This book is sad and heartbreaking, but also hopeful. It is written well and the characters compelling. I recommend you read this book.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.