Cherry blossom dreams by Gwyneth Rees

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Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408852637
(Age: 11-13) Themes: Family relationships; Grief and depression; Friendship; Coming-of-age. In Cherry Blossom Dreams a soon-to-be teenager narrates a family tale with complications. Sasha and her twin Sean are dealing with a potential new Step-dad who also happens to be an admired teacher at their school. Their mother's previous relationship following their Dad's death was a disaster, and now it seems that there is the potential for more pain and hurt. Not least, because the teacher knows how to discipline them. To add to this family drama are friendship and trust issues, the beginning of the flutters of romantic interest for Sasha, a forbidden party and a missing snake. Their grandmother's role as rescuer during times of crisis is bitter-sweet and the mystery surrounding the magician grandfather who died before they were born comes with a twist. All of this is connected to a large home called Blossom House, that Sasha and Sean's mother is trying to sell, and the children are using as a secret haven to escape the stresses of life.
This is a fairly standard family drama and teenage-coming of age story with multiple plot twists, but it is quite enjoyable and is likely to appeal to 11-13 year old girls.
Carolyn Hull