How To Grow A Family Tree by Eliza Henry-Jones
Published March 23rd 2020 by HarperCollins
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Stella may only be seventeen, but having read every self-help book she can find means she knows a thing or two about helping people. She sure wasn’t expecting to be the one in need of help, though.
Thanks to her father’s gambling addiction, Stella and her family now find themselves living at Fairyland Caravan Park. And hiding this truth from her friends is hard enough without dealing with another secret. Stella’s birth mother has sent her a letter.
As Stella deals with the chaos of her family, she must also confront the secrets and past of her ‘other’ family. But Stella is stronger than she realises.
From the author of P is for Pearl comes a heart-warming book about family, friendship and what home can mean.
I’ll be completely honest and admit that the main reason I picked this up was because of Laura. I put a tweet out earlier this year, or maybe even last, about what 2020 books people were most anticipating and this was hers. I’d never read any Eliza Henry-Jones before but I completely trust Laura, so I instantly put it on my TBR.
So it really shouldn’t surprise anyone when I say I had absolutely no idea what this was about. I knew it was #LoveOzYA and a contemporary, but nothing beyond that. There were a couple of moments where I actually struggled a little bit because of that. Knowing absolutely nothing about the story meant that I had no idea or expectations as to where it would go. I go into books knowing at least a little as to what it’s about, so I think the fact that it was a different reading experience was really what shook me.
The story is a lot heavier than what I’d anticipated. There’s a lot going on in this book, and I have to say that it’s all dealt with really well. The topics are all heavy, but all the reactions of the characters feel real and honest. I think that’s a lot harder to pull off than people realise. It’s definitely made me interested to read more of Henry-Jones’ work to see if it’s something she does across the board—I have this feeling it is.
I have to admit that I really struggled with Stella for a good part of the book. She’s not an easy character to love, I don’t think. She’d not bad by any means, but it’s one of those books where you’re just like ‘OPEN YOUR EYES’. She reads a lot of self help books and believes that she knows what she’s talking about and is determined to ‘fix’ everyone and everything. As someone who really doesn’t like people getting in my business, it just made me feel kind of uncomfortable. That being said, she did really grow on me and after about halfway through I was really liking her. Could I handle being her friend? Probably not. But was she still an interesting and well-developed character? Yes.
So all in all, this little book definitely packs a punch. There are so many important aspects to it, especially around family and what that means. Eliza Henry-Jones is definitely going on my list of authors to watch, and I guess I owe Laura again for introducing me to this one! If you don’t already, please go follow her—her reviews are always insightful, and she’s also just one of the sweetest and most genuine people I’ve ever met.