Behind Closed Doors
Holiday House, March 2017 ( USA)
Josie has a secret: her mother is a hoarder. Tasha has a secret, too: her mother s new boyfriend keeps trying to sneak into her room and seduce her. The two 16-year-olds don t get along at school, but one night Tasha bolts from her dangerous home and finds herself at Josie s door. Josie s mother is in jail for debt, and the girls are alone in the cramped, crowded, bursting home. Slowly, they begin to talk about the challenges they face, a process of sharing that lessens their shame, guilt and fear. With each other s support, they may even find a way to save themselves from their parents demons. Behind Closed Doors is an unflinching examination of the stigmas surrounding mental illness, abuse and poverty, and an affirming portrayal of the power of female friendships and the power of honesty to heal.
The Emergency Zoo, May 2016, Alma Books.
It is late August 1939: Britain is on the brink of war, and preparations are under way to evacuate London’s children to the countryside. When twelve-year-old Tilly and her best friend Rosy find out that they will not be able to take their beloved dog and cat with them – and that, even worse, their pets will, along with countless other animals, be taken to the vet to be put down – they decide to take action. The two girls come up with the idea of hiding them in a derelict hut in the woods and, when other children find out and start bringing their rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, their secret den turns into an emergency zoo.
Inspired by real events during the Second World War, Miriam Halahmy’s novel is a touching tale of courage, resourcefulness and camaraderie in desperate times, as well as a stirring defence of animal welfare.