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Life Turned Upside-Down

Book Review | Children’s Books
Wave Me Goodbye, by Jacqueline Wilson (Penguin Random House/Doubleday, $30)
Reviewed by Sophie Robinson

cover“‘Would you like to go on a little holiday?’ asked Mum, the moment she’d shaken me awake.”

Main character Shirley, aged 10, was shocked at the question, because her family never went out of London on holiday. But things were different now due to the approaching war. Children of all ages, including Shirley, were being sent out to the countryside for safety.

The story follows Shirley through the beginning of her new life as an evacuee. She is shy and has no friends, and people sense this. When host families are choosing evacuees, Shirley is one of the last 3 children to be rehomed. Everything in her life is turned upside down – first she has to cope with her father leaving for war, then she has to leave her mother behind in London when she is evacuated to the country, and she has to cope with living with strangers.

This story made me feel like I was there with Shirley, as she left her old life in London, and then had to start a new life in the country with no friends or family. Jacqueline Wilson’s character development is thorough so the reader feels like they have a personal connection with the main character.

The story ends before this chapter in Shirley’s life ends, leaving the reader to imagine what happens to Shirley’s family – whether her dad comes home safely from the war. I feel like maybe Jacqueline Wilson has done this because she wants to avoid a fairytale ending or a sad ending with the dad dying. 

I would recommend this story to girls aged between 8 – 11 who enjoy reading adventures set in different times and places. If you are already a Jacqueline Wilson fan, this book will not disappoint. If you’ve never read a Jacqueline Wilson book, get your nose stuck in and try this title – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!