Title: On Orchard Road
Author: Elsbeth Edgar
Published: 2011 by Walker Books
Her baby sister has just been born, but Jane and her father are moving out of Sydney to a new town while her mother wait in the city with baby Sylvia in the hospital.
Jane's mother has consoled her 'that sometimes good things happening in the most unpromising situations', but she is convinced she will be miserable. Occasionally though, friendship can bloom in the most unexpected of places.
Oh i just loved it! i picked it up thinking it would be a nice, easy holiday read, which is was, but enjoyed it so much more than i expected. The characters are sweet and well-rounded, especially Jane. The description is just spot on. The storyline is simple, but the book is gorgeous. This is perfect for people in the gap between kids and young adult books, or '12-yr-old' books as i call them, or for anyone who loves a sweet story about plants, friendship and books.
"It was the first time Jane had held Sylvia. Really held her on her own. She felt so light Jane thought a wisp of wind could have blown her away"
"First, she was told to sit in the only free seat, which happened to be next to a sullen boy (at least he was sullen as soon as he realised Jane was going to sit next to him) who gad been sprawled out comfortably across two desks" - Jane's first class at her new school
First off, the characters. Usually in books were the protagonist if forced to move against their will they're whiny, think Have You Seen Ally Queen, but Jane is quite lovely. She whine's occasionally, snaps at her dad sometimes, but doesn't complain the Whole Time. Also, her parents were characters, even her friend Michael's mother was a character. Jane was genuinely concerned for how her parents were feeling! This is not only more realistic, but brilliant for the 12 year old readers as they're about to start the horror phase of being fourteen. All Jane's friends were unique and cute, i especially loved Miss Harrison and her magical garden...
This book is very simple, i sat down one afternoon and read for a couple of hours and found myself 2/3s of the way though before i knew it.This is indicative of how much of a joy and how easy it is to read. Even though I've labeled it perfect for 12-year-olds it would be great for anyone above 9 or 10. The language is crisp, the descriptions spot on. I really hope this becomes one of those books like Harriet the Spy, or the Magic Faraway Tree, or Charmed life by Diana Wynne Jones which have lasted years.