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The Light in Everything by Katya Balen – Book Review

May 8th 2023

Katya Balen has become my new favourite author for older children!

Her books are perfect for year 6 or year 7. She writes in a beautiful poetic style that wraps around you like a blanket while you read. Her latest book ‘The Light in Everything’ will hook you in from the first page. It is a story of heartbreak, broken characters, change and hope.

The Light in Everything is a powerful story of two remarkable characters who are dealing with their own insecurities and are then thrown together in a blended family. The two children, Zofia and Tom, tell us their version of the story in turn through a series of short chapters.

Angry Zofia lives with her Dad and likes it that way.

I was born in a storm. The sky cracked with lightning and thunder shook the sea. The rain lashed the cliffs and it was like the whole world had tipped upside down and the ocean was falling from the sky. The weather was furious and so was I.

Timid Tom lives with his Mum. It’s two years since his Dad left, but he is still afraid of the dark.

The space around me is stained with soot and ink and shadows. The shadows slink and twist and reach and grasp. They slither and slip into something new and their edges blur and stretch. My fingers twitch. I gulp lungfuls of dirty dark air. Try to slow my breath and push away the black. Be my own light. My heart is clawing at my chest…

When Tom’s Mum becomes pregnant, they all move in together in a small house and await the baby’s arrival. Neither Zofia or Tom are happy with the situation and are not looking forward to the baby being born…until something horrible happens that changes everything.

This story reminds you of how difficult it is to be a human sometimes but also how if you let somebody in, your heart can soar. It’s the kind of story where the characters stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Recommended as a class novel, this book will help you to develop empathy in your class and to understand what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes. It will also bring to the fore, a range of complex emotions allowing you to have honest discussions with your pupils.

Read an extract of The Light in Everything at LoveReading4Kids.

The Light in Everything

ISBN: 978-1526622983



Available from our partners at Madeleine Lindley here.