Thursday 27 June 2024

Esme in the Limelight

Esme in the Limelight by Kate Gordon (Riveted Press) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9780645869316

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Esme is a fifteen-year-old girl who is happiest when she is working in the local milk bar and listening to soundtracks from musicals. However, she constantly feels like she is ‘not enough’ and does not like herself. Esme does not live up to her parents’ high expectations and she is often made to feel worthless by their snide comments, their absence, or their constant praise of her perfect sister, Ro.

In the recent past, Esme’s self-loathing drew her to the positive and charismatic Amy, an older girl at school. Well-meaning Amy convinced Esme that she needed a drastic makeover and bombarded her with positive quotes and affirmations. However, while Esme craved Amy’s constant validation, deep down she knew she was wearing a mask and she never felt like herself.

To add to Esme’s despair, she learns that the owners of her beloved milk bar are going to sell it, and she becomes overwhelmed with sadness. She feels like the milk bar is all she has. Fortunately, new, and old friends are there to support her and help her realise that she is so much more than what she believes.

Esme in the Limelight is an emotive middle grade novel about finding yourself. It is highly recommended for mature readers aged 11 years and older. The novel’s themes include mental health, friendship, empathy, people-pleasing, shame, and hope. Gordon explores complex issues with great care including depression, body image, emotional abuse, toxic positivity, and eating disorders.

Esme in the Limelight is a companion novel to Aster’s Good Right Things, Xavier in the Meantime, and Indigo in the Storm.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.