Will You Catch Me? by Jane Elson

Powerful & Heart-Wrenching

Will You Catch Me? by Jane Elson is a powerful, heart-wrenching children’s novel and just perfect for ages ten years and older. It is a novel that I would recommend for any age as it will help you to get inside and understand the working of a young girl’s mind.

The novel has the heart-breaking theme of alcoholism. This effects not only the sufferer but all those they interact with. We follow Nell, in year eight as she struggles to cope alone with her Mum’s addiction. The reader’s heart just breaks for Nell. She is the self-proclaimed carer for her Mum since she was six years old. She keeps silent as she fears her Mum being taken away.

We really get to know Nell as the novel is written in her voice in the first person. We hear her fears and applaud her bravery and stoicism.

Nell loves her Mum but being the responsible one is exhausting. “I don’t want to go home, I’m scared of what I might find.” The reader longs for Nell to just be able to be a child. There are glimpses of the Mum her Mum could be, and the relationship they could have – but the demon drink keeps on winning.

Caring for others is part of Nell’s DNA. She loves rescuing animals and insects, spending her money on their food.

There is a generous, kind hearted community in the novel. Nell lives in a flat on an estate in London. Here, we will meet some of the residents in other Jane Elson books. The reader feels at home here.

Nell is popular in her community. Little acts of kindness keep her going.

School has its challenges. Nell finds it hard to concentrate until a new history teacher awakens the subject within her. “Sir just makes the history class come alive.” Children need teachers who teach with passion. “Sir has a way of making you care about the people from the past.” The past springs to life in some rather unexpected ways.

Sometimes in life, the veil between the past and the present is thin. There are some beautiful exchanges which may or may not be real – you decide.

All the characters were well drawn, likable and realistic. I absolutely loved Nell and also Aunty Lou with her huge heart and capacity to love.

There was a search for a father, someone to take the pressure off Nell – but sometimes what we search for may be closer than we think.

Jane Elson always writes stories that not only entertain but inform. She challenges us to think differently, to really get to know the minds of young people. They may be fighting battles that we have no clue about. Not everyone thinks the same. We need to be aware and we need to show empathy. Jane Elson shows us inside young people’s heads as she highlights relevant issues. All her stories are powerful and I cannot get enough of her books.


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