Book Review: Being Brave, by Hester Leung & Sema Musson • Glam Adelaide

Book Review: Being Brave, by Hester Leung & Sema Musson

Two girls struggle with their inner voices telling them they are not good enough or brave enough, and how they find a way to become who they really are.

The chapters in this novel are varied, making it an interesting and unusual book.

Hester Leung and Sema Musson are two friends who both have daughters. They wanted to write a book to help them navigate the difficult time between 10 and 14 when children start to have self-doubt and outside pressures begin to take their toll.

Being Brave is about Ellie and Alyssa, two long-time friends who struggle with their inner voices constantly telling them they are not good enough.Both girls have always relied on each other and tell each other everything. Alyssa has Chinese heritage and is struggling with her self-confidence. Ellie has a little sister who takes up all her parent’s time and on top of that, her parents seem to always be fighting. She feels she has lost her heart.

It is a story about their search for Ellie’s heart and their need to rely on each other to get through the good and bad times.

The chapters in this novel are varied. Some are written as phone texts between the girls, some are written as individual journal entries, some are conversations between the girls, and still others are written as their thoughts. Interspersed, there are information texts and comic strip illustrations by Jelena Sinik. This makes it an interesting and unusual book and will keep the reader on their toes.

Unfortunately, I had difficulty believing the conversations between the girls. I enjoyed the close relationship they shared but the way they spoke seemed stilted. The conversations and thoughts didn’t feel natural and were too wordy. I could see the authors were trying to make it more child-like, but feel they missed the mark. There was too much explanation of their emotions where there could have been more room for the reader to come to their own conclusions about how they would feel in the same situation. It was hard to feel empathetic and put yourself in their place.

The idea behind the story is a good one: being brave and true to yourself. Too much repetition and the sudden move to fantasy made it lose some of the impact. It went a little weird!

I really liked the idea of having special things to help us remember the important things in life, like kindness, perspective and friendship, and this is a worthwhile inclusion.

There are many books being written at the moment about children standing up for themselves and navigating through a world of technology, bullies, emotion, school and friendships. Being Brave unfortunately did not hit the mark for me.

Reviewed by Sue MaugerDistributed by:Amazon Australia
Released: August 2019
RRP: $21.70 paperback, $8.55 eBook

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