Discover Silver Linings, a new heartwarming novel set in 1950s Australia from bestselling author, Katrina Nannestad. Read the reviews from our Young Readers below.
Nettie Sweeney has a dad, three big sisters, a farm full of cows and a cat called Mittens. But it’s not enough. She longs for a mother. One with a gentle touch and sparkles in her eyes. Instead, she has Aunty Edith with slappy hands, a sharp tongue and the disturbing belief that peas are proper food.
When Dad marries Alice, all Nettie’s dreams come true. The Sweeney home overflows with laughter, love and, in time, a baby brother. Billy. The light of Nettie’s life.
Then tragedy strikes. The Sweeney family crumbles. Nettie tries to make things right, but has she made everything so much worse?
From multi-award-winning Australian author Katrina Nannestad comes a heartbreakingly beautiful and uplifting historical novel. Life and death. Weddings and floods. Coronation joy and post-war grief. Nettie Sweeney and her community experience it all. Together. With humour, kindness and love.
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Silver Linings is out now – a heartwarming middle-grade novel perfect for Christmas.
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Read reviews from our Young Readers
Book review by Kaitlyn (age 13)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The book is set in post-war Australia, with a family of girls who have lost their mother. Their father remarries, and for a time, their family is blissfully happy. Then, tragedy strikes, and the family breaks apart to process their grief separately.
Six-year-old Nettie tries her hardest to pull her family back from their knots of sadness, coming up with outrageous ideas to reunite the family.
Even though this book sounds sad – it is – it’s sad in the right type of way that makes a good book, a book that is a page-turner. All books have happy endings though, and this one is not an exception. The family knits closer together than ever, drawn by the bonds of love and grief.
I feel that most people who like family life books will enjoy this one. Silver Linings also shares some similarities to books by authors, like Michael Morpurgo and Karina Yan Glaser. And of course, the other stand-alones by Katrina Nannestad are must-reads!
Book review by Zara (age 12)
My name is Zara. I’m 12 years old and got given the book Silver Linings by Katrina Nannestad to write a review about. This book is set in the early 1950’s when Princess Elizabeth was being crowned Queen of England. Five-year-old Nettie Sweeney the main character lives in Australia on a farm full of Cows, Horses and her Cat Mittens. Shortly after Nettie was born her mother passed away from a sickness she caught. So ever since then she had longed for a soft and kind-hearted mother that would care and look after her.
This story takes off when Nettie’s dad brings home his new wife, Alice, everything is going great and the farm is filled with love and support. One day Alice comes home with a little ray of sunshine who will be her younger brother; Billy. A couple of weeks after he was born Billy gets sick and has to stay in hospital for a few days. On the day Alice and Billy were supposed to come home, Alice was the only one who stepped out of the truck. Following this Alice falls into a deep state of depression. Nettie is determined to help her stepmother any way she can, including acts of kindness, showing her the positive things happening around her and trying to bring her new mother joy.
This book teaches us that we can help people realize that there are happy and joyous things in life and they just have to take a look for themselves. This can be really hard when people are struggling with depression and other mental health issues and the book shows us some of the many ways to do this. The simple ongoing acts of care and kindness we read in the story help show us how to help the people we love when they suffer similar challenges.
Overall I rate this book a 10 out of 10 because it was so fascinating to read and very enjoyable to learn how simple it can be sometimes to help people suffering mental health challenges. This is such a topical thing for us in today’s day and age so the relevance to me as a young person today was excellent.
Book review by Eva (age 10)
Hi. My name is Eva, I am 10 and I will be reviewing a book called Silver Linings.
The main character in this book is Lynette Sweeney, also known as the five-year-old Nettie. Nettie has a kind, giving family, a dad and three sisters. She longs for a mum, but instead there is Aunty Edith. A woman with a short temper and slappy hands.
On the farm, Nettie and her family now are getting introduced to a new batch of piglets! In amongst the new litter there is always an unfortunate little piggy. That happens to be Lynette’s chosen piglet. Soon her dad is getting out of the car, hand in hand with a nice-looking lady.
I liked this book because it was a long read that was entertaining for my age group. It was sad at the start and then it had a happy ending.
Book review by Ellen (age 14)
Hi, my name is Ellen and I had the joy of reading Silver Linings by Katrina Nannestad. I knew this book would be excellent because it is written by one of my favourite authors. The cover of the book is beautifully illustrated with special references to events that have taken place in the story.
Set in 1950s Australia, the narrative follows the Sweeney family’s life, written from Nettie’s perspective. Lynette, also known as Nettie, is the youngest of four sisters. They live on a farm with their Dad and their mean Aunt Edith. Nettie longs for a mother who will care for her, so when her dad marries Alice she feels like all of her dreams have come true. Then, when her new baby brother Billy arrives Nettie feels her heart will burst! Devastation occurs and the family starts to tear at the seams.
A touching historical novel that inspires happiness and hope after dealing with grief. I enjoyed reading this and I think that mature readers in the 10-15 year age range will also enjoy this book as much as I did.
I give it an 11/10. Special thanks to Kidspot and Harper Collins for providing the opportunity for me to read this wonderful book.
Reviewers are provided with a copy of the book for the purposes of the review. Views are those of the reviewers. This article contains information provided by HarperCollins.
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