Book Review – The Amazing Edie Eckhart (Book One) by Rosie Jones, Illustrated by Natalie Smillie

First published, 2021

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Written in diary format with awesome illustrations by Natalie Smillie, the story follows Edie – an eleven year old girl from Bridlington, Yorkshire, as she starts secondary school. Edie has cerebral palsy, a great family, a best friend called Oscar, and a positive, sunny disposition.

But life is far from simple when you move up to big school, and Edie finds herself under pressure to make new friends as her best and only since primary develops new interests and devotes himself to football and his shiny, new girlfriend.

When heavily pregnant form tutor, Mrs Adler suggests Edie audition for the school play, Edie gets the lead and decides to nab herself a boyfriend by Christmas. She negotiates her way through failed dates with boys who would be better as friends, eating sausage rolls, and learning her lines. Despite her oldest friendship falling by the wayside with a huge argument, Edie makes friends with set-designer, Flora, who becomes very important to her.

It’s such a happy book. Full of kindness and giggles, I am far from the target audience. I’m forty. I wasn’t reading it with or to a child. I was reading it for me. I really like Rosie Jones, and I can’t remember seeing any books with a disabled main character when I was a kid, and that would have been nice because my mother was in a wheelchair.

When I turned the last page, I felt both happy and sad. Happy for Edie because she’s on to a whole new adventure, but sad for me, because I’m going to miss her.

A fresh voice, full of thought and hope, I really enjoyed this book and will be looking to the next book in the series as soon as possible.