Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams is a Christian YA novel set in 1960. I am considerably older than the target market but I really enjoyed it.
Just Claire is written in the third person from the point of view of thirteen year old ClaireLee. She is the oldest of five siblings who have just moved to a new area as her father has work building a tunnel.
ClaireLee finds that her life has changed. All that was familiar is gone. The children start a new school. ClaireLee finds it hard to fit in. She longs to be part of the Lavender group but her friendship with Belinda makes this unlikely. Jean Ann Williams explores the complications of friendship for teenage girls. The highs and lows. The hurts and disappointments. And the bonds that form.
Within Just Claire there is the subject of post natal depression. ClaireLee’s mother nearly lost her life delivering baby Feathers. She returns from hospital a changed Mama. Everything falls on ClaireLee’s shoulders as the eldest. The reader really admires how ClaireLee rises to the challenges. At times it gets her down but ClaireLee is the big sister we would all love to have.
There is a beautiful bond between ClaireLee and her three year old sister Lolly. Jean Ann Williams has managed to capture the essence of sisterhood delightfully.
The bond of family is visible in the novel. Mama is usually the one holding the family together but ClaireLee admirably steps into her shoes.
ClaireLee is teetering on the brink of adulthood. Jean Ann Williams draws her excellently showing her independence of spirit which contrasts with the vulnerability of youth. ClaireLee copes most of the time but there are moments when she just wants her old Mama back.
Just Claire was a wonderful novel. It evoked memories of a time when life was simpler. It reminded me of a more up to date version of Little House on the Prairie even before it was mentioned that ClairLee was reading it!
A delightful novel which anyone will enjoy, whatever your age.
I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.
Just Claire blog tour on Singing Librarian. Includes giveaway
Thank you, Julia, for the wonderful review. It touched my heart to see your words. :))