This is one of those 'what if' novels that take you to a place you don't want to imagine and makes you wonder how would you cope if it happened to you. But freshness and poignancy come from the voice of the 9 year-old narrator, brilliantly realised. Harry's take on the world deals unblinkingly with painful emotions but manages to raise your hopes for the human race at the same time.
She'd painted her nails, her lovely nails, bitten down and torn purple now. She'd washed her hair. You could see all the frizzy ends. She'd put some clothes on that she used to wear, nice clothes I liked. She couldn't fill them anymore. Like in the old days, meeting me, she'd gone to a bit of trouble. But the trouble she'd gone to only made my throat ache.