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Blog Tour Review - Looking for Lucie by Amanda Addison

 Blog Tour Review - Looking for Lucie by Amanda Addison "Where are you really from?" It's a question every brown girl in a white-washed town is familiar with, and one that Lucie has never been able to answer. All she knows is that her mother is white, she's never met her father, and she looks nothing like the rest of her family. She can't even talk about it because everyone says it shouldn't matter! Well, it matters to Lucie and-with her new friend Nav, who knows exactly who he is-she's determined to find some answers. What do you do when your entire existence is a question with no answer? You do a DNA test. Looking for Lucie is a fascinating look at what it is like growing up mixed race in contemporary Britain. It's a story about family and culture, and what they can mean for different people, as Lucie tries to figure out where she fits into the world. She doesn't look like any of the rest of her family, and her ethnicity is impossible to figure o

Blog Tour Review - The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams by Victoria Williamson

 Blog Tour Review - The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams 

by Victoria Williamson

In a strange little village called Witchetty Hollow, eleven-year-old Florizel is the first to run into the curious visitors who've come to open a brand new Daydream Delicatessen and sack-baby factory.

At first, it seems the daydream confection and cheap sack children are the best things that could have happened to the poor folk of the Hollow - after all, who has the money to rent their child from Storkhouse Services these days? But after a few weeks, Florizel starts to notice something odd happening to the adults of the town. First, they seem dreamy, then they lose all interest in their jobs and families. Soon they're trading all their worldly goods in the newly-opened Pawnshop for money to buy daydreams. With no money for rent payments, the children of Witchetty Hollow are being reclaimed by Storkhouse Services at an alarming rate. Florizel needs to act.

The Pawnshop of Stolen is a wonderfully creepy story! A delicate blend of endearing charm and sinister nastiness. 

It has an adorable fairytale charm to it, but like all of the best fairytales, there's a really dark side. Witchetty Hollow has a unique approach to childcare. Most families can't have children the traditional way, so instead they are rented out from the rich and powerful families who have them imported, (and of course, can still have children themselves). In a really nasty twist, rent for the child depends on how well they do at school, meaning clever children are more expensive to keep. Our main character, Florizel, has to do deliberately bad at tests to avoid her value rising and risking repossession. 

Then there are the sack-babies. Instead of an expensive real child you can have a cheap sack-baby, that will grow and develop and learn, until it reaches ten years old at which point it will be taken back by the corporation that made it for recycling. 

Honestly, it's all incredibly sinister and disturbing. Children who are re-collected if rents aren't met, and sack-babies who are recycled at ten. It's really cleverly designed to keep you totally on edge.

The story wooshes along at a great pace as Florizel meets Burble, a sack-boy, who starts going to school with her and doing hilariously badly. But he's so sweet and tries so hard that he is actually incredibly endearing though it's clear to see just how frustratingly annoying he is too. Things quickly turn mysterious though, with the arrival of a new delicatessen in the village, filled with the most incredible treats, things too good to be true. Before long, people are changing and the whole village is getting decidedly worse and it is up to Florizel and Burble to figure out what is going on and save the day!

Written into the fairytale horror is a brilliant critique of so much of modern society. The incredibly wealthy families have their own children, while everyone rents them on an ever shifting market that punishes them for doing well. People are distracted by nice treats, only to find out the true cost of them is more than they can ever afford. The pawnshop of the title is there, waiting for them, as they fall deeper into debt spirals, unable to find a way out. It's an incredible blend of fairytale and modern horror that hits home perfectly. It can be enjoyed purely as a children's fantasy, or you can read into it a scathing indictment of capitalist structures. 

The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams is magical, clever and deeply sinister. I loved it!


The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams by Victoria Williamson is out now, published by Tiny Tree.

I was given a review copy in exchange for this honest review and participation in this The Write Reads blog tour.

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour!


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