Winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari is an incredibly insightful, honest novel exploring the delicate balance, and often injustice, of life and death – but at its heart is a celebration of friendship, culture, and life.
Twelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic and outspoken family where it’s not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie’s health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her, and also starts to keep some of her own. She is drawn to mysterious Jide, a boy who is clearly hiding a troubled past and has grown hardened layers – like those of an artichoke – around his heart. As Mira is experiencing grief for the first time, she is also discovering the wondrous and often mystical world around her.
During the summer of her GCSEs Kite’s world falls apart. Her best friend, Dawn, commits suicide after a long struggle with feeling under pressure to achieve. Kite’s dad takes her to the Lake District, to give her time and space to grieve. In London Kite is a confident girl, at home in the noisy, bustling city, but in the countryside she feels vulnerable and disorientated. Kite senses Dawn’s spirit around her and is consumed by powerful, confusing emotions – anger, guilt, sadness and frustration, all of which are locked inside. It’s not until she meets local boy, Garth, that Kite begins to open up – talking to a stranger is easier somehow. Kite deeply misses her friend and would do anything to speak to Dawn just once more, to understand why . . . Otherwise how can she ever say goodbye?
A potent story about grief, friendship, acceptance and making your heart whole again.