Thank you very much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Maudie and Jake’s family is falling to pieces – their mum’s been struggling with her grief since they lost Dad and one night she vanishes. When Jake is put into care, Maudie can’t take it any more. She comes up with a wild plan to pull their family back together – by kidnapping Jake.
On the run in Cornwall, Jake and Maudie each find something they hadn’t expected – freedom and love. But can they find Mum and a way to heal together
Mel Darbon is a YA author whose books everyone needs to read. Both of her books are heart-breaking, heart-warming, real and truly extraordinary. After reading her first published novel Rosie Loves Jack back in 2018, I knew I had to pick up What the World Doesn’t See. It completely exceeded all of my expectations and I cannot recommend it enough.
Maudie and Jake’s family is falling to pieces. Their Mum has been struggling with her grief after losing their Dad and one night she just vanishes. When Jake is put into care, Maudie can’t take it anymore. So, she comes up with a wild plan to pull their family back together, by kidnapping Jake. Whilst on the run in Cornwall, Jake and Maudie each find something they hadn’t expected, but can they find their Mum?
This book is told through a dual POV narrative and it works excellently. We alternate between the perspectives of Maudie and Jake. I’m so glad that Mel Darbon gave Jake his own chapters. It helps to provide an authentic representation of neurodiversity and gives Jake his own voice. It isn’t often that we hear the voices of neurodivergent characters and especially not at the centre of the story. I feel this is one of the things that makes this book as special as it is.
Maudie is our other excellent main character. She is mature and is excellent at looking after herself and her brother. There are a few things she does throughout the book that I feel were a little bit naive. But, I had to suspend my thoughts around this because she is in quite a unique situation. Either way, I enjoyed Maudie’s POVs and the story she tells.
I loved the sibling bond we see between Jake and Maudie. Maudie is always there for Jake and makes sure that people are fair and kind to him. Jake cares so deeply for Maudie too and there are moments throughout the book when we see this and they are incredibly heart-warming.
What the World Doesn’t See explores grief in such a moving way. It talks about the experiences both as an adult and a teenager following the death of a loved one. We see all the characters deal with their grief in different ways. One of the most interesting explorations of grief was with Jake and his understanding of his Dad’s death. I feel that brought some added beauty to the story.
Overall, What the World Doesn’t See is a book I will be recommending to everyone. It is a must-read book for all. I’m sure this will help many readers learn about neurodivergence as well as build the reader’s empathy and understanding. It is an incredibly powerful story which will stay with me for a very long time.