Lemonade Sky ISBN: 9780007431649
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books, 2012
Ruby is 12, and her younger sisters, Tizz and Sam are 10 and 6 respectively. They live with their mum in a basement, and as mum is bipolar there are often problems. When mum disappears, Ruby must take charge, and as this isn't the first time this has happened, the girls decide that she will only be gone for about ten days and they should be able to cope until then. They certainly don't want to be discovered by social services and be taken into care, so Ruby says they should be as normal as possible. As they can only find £14.75 in searching through the flat, they know that having enough to eat is going to be difficult. Tizz can be very spikey and awkward and Sam is a bit of a 'madam', so Ruby must use all her wiles to get them to agree to buying just basics from Tesco. The longer mum stays gone, the harder it is for Ruby to cope with the girls, with school, with meals and with the nosy neighbour 'Her Upstairs', so the girls are in constant danger of being discovered. Ruby also knows that as mum has left her medication behind, her hyper mood is likely to last for some time. It is only when an ex boyfriend of their mother's appears, a solid type called Cal, that Ruby is able to turn over some of the responsibility to him. He calls in the police and takes the girls to their gran, whom they have never met. This is a mixed blessing as gran is a bit like Tizz and likely to be Spikey. However, they all rub along well, and Tizz particularly enjoys living in the country with dogs and horses. Mum does return, but must then be in hospital for some time, and while there is a happy ending of sorts, life is always going to be tough for the sensitive Ruby. The emotions are spot on, as are the details of the life the three girls must lead with their mum away. It's good on the ways bipolar sufferers react during their mood swings, and Ruby is a true carer to her sisters. Highly readable and interesting!